After four days of watching the batsmen on top in this 1st Test between Pakistan and England, with both teams making 500 plus scores and declaring. The play was meandering towards a dull, tame draw. The final day should have been some extra batting practice for Pakistan.
However Pakistani fans know that their team can shred the nerves of the most robust supporter. Pakistan are one of the few teams that can pull out a surprise defeat from the jaws of victory.
All that is required to unsettle the brittle Pakistan batsmen’s psychology is a few quick wickets, then the panic button is pressed which goes down the batting order making them play inexplicably. Pakistan is synonymous with sudden batting collapses.
England declared with a lead of 75. Pakistan went out to finish the day with an easy draw. However Shan Masood fell early, completing an awful test for the opener. Next Shoaib Malik was stunned by a bouncer for 0. Score 3 runs for 2 wickets. Hafeez did well making 34 before being easily run out when going for a dangerous single.
Veterans Younis Khan 45 runs and Misbah 51 runs made a useful partnership before giving their wickets away.
The Pakistan batting line up were making Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali look like Shane Warne and Muralitharan. Were these the same spinners that were hammered in the 1st innings?
Adil Rashid finished with an impressive 5 for 64 runs.
The last five wickets fell for 14 runs and Pakistan finished on 173 all out. England were set a target of 99 to make in about one hour.
The Test match which was heading for a boring draw now turned into a T20 type match, with big hitting required from England for a close finish.
England accordingly switched their batting order. Moeen Ali was joined by Butler to open, then Joe Root and Bairstow. The T20 specialists were promoted, game on.
Root excelled with 33 off 29 runs, but boundaries were hard to come by. One over of Wahab Riaz was blasted for 17 runs.
In the end England fell just 25 runs short on 74/4, the fading light brought the match to a premature end after just 11 overs out of the allotted 19.
Mercurial Pakistan had secured a draw, however jangled our nerves in the process.
The result will be recorded in as a draw but what an extraordinary draw. It will give England a confidence boost but Pakistan will be feeling very lucky that they escaped with a draw.
Man of the Match was Captain Alastair Cook, for his 263 runs in the 1st innings.
Next match: 2nd Test Dubai, October 22nd-26th.