Islamabad, Pakistan – England have beaten hosts Pakistan by 26 runs in their second cricket Test match to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The English team won the five-day match by 26 runs on the fourth day on Monday, with its fast bowler Mark Wood taking four wickets in the second innings.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
England’s batsman Harry Brook was declared the player of the match for scoring 108 runs on Day 3, which ensured a formidable target of 355 runs for Pakistan.
“We just wanted to go out and play our brand of cricket, put pressure on the bowlers and be aggressive throughout,” Brook said after receiving his award.
Pakistan were bowled out for 328. Middle-order southpaw Saud Shakeel, playing his second Test match, put up a brave chase but failed to score his maiden Test century.
Shakeel was declared out at 94 runs by umpire Aleem Dar as he was apparently caught behind the wicket. But Dar was persuaded to refer the decision to third umpire Joel Wilson, who, despite television replays showing the ball touching the grass, went ahead with Dar’s original decision.
The controversial decision changed the course of the game, putting England firmly in the lead.
“We felt from outside that the ball had touched the ground but as a professional, you have to follow the umpire’s decision,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam told reporters after the match.
“We were not up to the mark in the first innings and had a couple of soft dismissals. We fought back in the second innings, but unfortunately, we could not finish it,” he said.
When Pakistan began the fourth day of the play, they needed to score 157 runs and had six wickets in hand.
However, the overnight batter, left-handed all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, fell in the sixth over of the day.
Pakistan moved spin bowler Mohammed Nawaz up the batting order to partner Shakeel. Their enterprising partnership of 80 runs in just over 20 overs raised the hopes of the host nation.
But Wood’s aggressive pace destroyed those hopes, handing Pakistan their third consecutive Test defeat this year. The last time Pakistan lost three consecutive home matches was in 1959.
“We were fortunate that with the cracks opening up our seamers became effective … The way they bowled throughout the game, they looked a huge threat,” English captain Ben Stokes told reporters.
The last match of the series will be played in Karachi from December 17.