England, Pakistan
Chris Woakes celebrates after hitting the winning stroke [Photo-Twitter]

England, courtesy counter-attacking knocks by Jos Buttler [75 off 101 balls] and Chris Woakes, who stayed unbeaten at 84, pulled off one of the greatest victories in their history as they chased down 277 at the Emirates Old Trafford to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series against Pakistan.

Starting the day at 8-137, Pakistan added another 33 runs to their lead past the 275-run mark, courtesy some brilliant strokeplay from Yasir Shah. The visitors were eventually dismissed for 169, leaving England the target of 277 runs in the fourth innings. Rory Burns and Dom Sibley safely negotiated the first 11 overs before Mohammad Abbas trapped the left-hander Burns on his crease to give Pakistan a much-need breakthrough.

Joe Root and Dom Sibley stitched 64 runs for the second wicket but just as it looked like the duo were in for a long haul, Yasir Shah saw the back of Sibley, after he induced the right-hander into a cover-drive, resulting in Sibley edging it to Asad Shafiq, who took a brilliant catch in the slip cordon.

Sibley’s wicket caused yet another England collapse as the home side lost key wickets of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Ollie Pope within the space of 31 runs.

To be honest, each of those three dismissals came off absolute jaffas. While England’s skipper Joe Root was undone was by a beautiful outswinger from Naseem Shah, Ben Stokes was dismissed by a Yasir Shah googly, one that bounced off the rough marks. Stokes couldn’t get his gloves out of the way and Mohammad Rizwan completed the catch off the second attempt.

Ollie Pope has been in cracking form throughout the summer but not even him could do anything about the delivery that got him out on day 04. The ball kicked in from a length, kissing Pope’s gloves before ballooning in the air.

Also Read- World Test Championship Points Table: England Thrash Pakistan To Close Gap On India, Australia

Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes stunning counterattack leaves Pakistan shell-shocked as England win by three  wickets

England, Pakistan
Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes [Photo-Twitter]
England 5-117, and staring down the barrel, everyone thought? But certainly not what Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes were thinking, it seems! The duo launched a stunning counterattack against the Pakistani bowlers, erasing 50 runs off the target in no time to take the home side within 110 runs of the target at Tea.

Buttler and Woakes continued in their merry way post the Lunch. Apart from the stunning strokeplay from the duo- there were reverse-sweeps, slog sweeps, delightful flicks and drives, ferocious cuts- the most striking thing about the partnership was the calmness that they displayed.

They rotated the strike brilliantly and it’s evident from the fact that Pakistan couldn’t manage a single maiden over during the partnership. The rapid rate at which the duo scored (139 runs in 30 overs) ensured that the new ball was well and truly out of the equation.

England, Pakistan
Yasir Shah [Photo-Twitter]
The duo soon notched up the 100-run stand and in the process, they also completed their respective half-centuries. Yasir Shah bowled brilliantly, constantly getting the ball to kick-in off the rough but Buttler and Woakes managed him decently well- with a bit of luck notwithstanding- to whittle down the target below the 50-run mark. But the vile leg-spinner was finally rewarded after he trapped Jos Buttler [75 off 101 balls] LBW, thanks to the batsman finally missing an attempted reverse-sweep to breathe some life back in the game.

Stuart Broad played his strokes and along with Woakes reduced the target down to one hit. Shah continued to chip away, nailing Broad LBW on the attempted slog sweep. But it was Chris Woakes day, it was England’s day and it was fitting that he hit the winning runs- not in the fashion he would have liked, an edge towards third man- to take his side past the finishing line.

Also Read- India’s Test Specialists Likely To Reach Australia By October End

Here’s how Twitter reacted to the 4th days play between England and Pakistan-

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.