“It will be an exciting series but I can’t see Pakistan winning a match,”
The aforementioned statement came from former England all-rounder Ian Botham just days before the first Test match at Lord’s. Cricket is a funny game and jumping to conclusions too early is the last thing you want to do especially when you have got Pakistan in the fray.
Pakistan registered a historic win at Lord’s after a long gap of 20 years and once again proved that they are a force to reckon with whether it’s in the sub-continent or outside it. Misbah-ul-Haq and his men were under the quash before the Test series and many had predicted that the Men in Green will be facing a stiff challenge in the shape of England away from home but the team defied all odds and triumphed where the roots of cricket lie that is the ‘Home of Cricket’.
The match was a fascinating contest and fortunes fluctuated throughout the match with both teams eager to start off the series with a win.
Misbah’s leadership played a key role in Pakistan’s win as he rallied the troops in fantastic manner. His astute captaincy skills were on show during the entire Test match and not to forget the commanding century in the first innings which set the tone for Pakistan and put them on track for victory. His press-ups after inscribing his name on the honours board were a treat to watch for the people witnessing live on the ground and back home in Pakistan.
Misbah’s calm demeanour and ability to assess situations accordingly was of pivotal importance throughout the match and he ensured that he focused rather than folding up when squeezed during various stages of the match. One such instance of this was the 6th wicket partnership between Woakes and Bairstow which looked like taking the game away from Pakistan but he persisted with his bowlers which finally paid dividends.
Yasir Shah spins magic
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was the centre of attention after picking up five wickets on a day 2 pitch to everyone’s surprise because the pitch was not taking that much turn but Yasir proved his critics wrong who had through the spinner would struggle in England as he has no experience of playing outside the sub-continent. Even legendary leg spinner Shane Warne, who is commentating during the series, was impressed with the way he bowled and was all praise for the talented Pakistani spinner throughout the match.
Combined team effort
Another bright spot in Pakistan’s win was that it was not all about the same old faces of Pakistani team providing the major contributions because other players, who were playing in England for the first time, came to the rescue when they were required most and showed that team work always provides the best result.
When Pakistan were reeling at 60/4 in the second innings and at that stage the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq amped it up and brought Pakistan back in the match with crucial knocks. Rahat Ali, in the bowling department, provided crucial breakthroughs when they were needed most and hence showed that he is an important part of the Pakistani pace battery despite the fact that Wahab and Amir were making all the headlines.
Amir makes a successful comeback
Before the Test match the hype surrounding Mohammad Amir gained all the attention and fast bowler settled in rather nicely into Test cricket. Although he was unlucky in the first innings as some catches went down off his bowling but he bowled in good areas. It was fitting ending for Pakistan that Amir took the last wicket in the match and gained redemption at the same venue where he was found guilty of spot-fixing six years ago.
The second Test match between Pakistan and England is scheduled to take place at Old Trafford, Manchester where England will look to level the series meanwhile Pakistan will go into that Test match with high spirits after their memorable win at Lord’s.