Chris Wokes smashed an unbeaten 84 runs as England clinched an emphatic win in the first Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Saturday, the fourth day of the England vs Pakistan First Test.
Chasing 277 runs to win, England at one point of time was struggling at 117/5 on day 4. After that English wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler and all-rounder, Chris Woakes led a remarkable fightback for England in a three-wicket victory. The pair went for the counter-attack after the fall off Ollie Pope’s wicket (7 off 18 balls) in England’s second innings and shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 139 on the day 4. Buttler was gone for 75 runs while Chris Wokes hit the winning runs as England finished on 277/7.
Pakistan missed its opportunity
Earlier it was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to win the England vs Pakistan First Test in England. In the batting-friendly Manchester wicket, Pakistan Skipper Azhar Ali won the toss and decided to bat first. The start was not that great as Pakistan lost two of there main batsmen early of their innings. After the loss of Azhar Ali’s wicket (0 off 6 balls), Babar Azam ( 69 off 106 balls) and Shan Masood(156 off 319 balls) built their innings with so much class and elegance and made a 96 runs stand between each other. Finally, with the supporting innings from Sahadab Khan (45 of 76 balls) lower of the innings, Pakistan managed to post 326 runs in their first innings. Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer took 3 wickets each.
England in reply lost their top four batsmen very cheaply and at the end of day 2, the English team was struggling at 92/4 with Ollie Pope and Jos Butler were unbeaten at the crease.
On day three the partnership did not last long and England lost the wicket of Pope (62 of 117 balls) at 127 runs. Finally, with the contribution from the lower order batsmen, England was all out at 219 runs. Yasir Shah was the peak of the bowlers with 66/4 in his 18 overs. Sahadab Khan and Mohammad Abbas picked two wickets each.
Getting an important 109 runs lead from the first innings, the Pakistan team never looked comfortable in the second innings and lost wickets cheaply in regular interval. At the end of day 3, they were struggling at 137/8 with Yasir Shah (12*) and Mohammad Abbas (0) on the crease.
On day 4 Pakistan lost their remaining two wickets by adding another 32 runs with their overnight score and was all out at 169 runs in 46.4 overs. Stuart Broad took 3 wickets for 37 runs, while Chris Wokes and Ben Stokes took 2 wickets each.
Finally, England chased down the target with the stunning knock from Wokes (84 of 120 balls, with 10 fours) and lead the test series by 1-0. Woakes also took two wickets in each innings, including that of Babar Azam in the second, was enough to earn him the Man of the Match award.
“I think that was the way to go on the wicket, just counter-attack. Especially the ball Ollie (Pope) got, we took initiative by scoring quickly and thought that was the way to go on that surface,” said Woakes in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“The idea of taking it to them, counter-attacking was the right thing to do — the perfect thing to do. And to see Jos do his thing was incredible, and unfortunately, he got out.
“He is one of the best white-ball players in the world, one of the best run-chasers, and he showed it today with all his inventive sweeps and reverse-sweeps, especially the way he handled the spinners.”
Woakes had one Test century against India 2 years ago. But allrounder was out of form for past one year and his highest score in last 17 innings before Saturday was an unbeaten 37.
“I don’t think I have lacked in training with my batting form, and thankfully I focussed on the ball today and managed to hit it. Very pleasing to pick up the big wickets too, and I feel really good with the ball. Hopefully, that will continue,” he said.
Brief score after England vs Pakistan First Test: Pakistan 326 and 169 (Yasir Shah 33; Stuart Broad 3-37) lost to England 219 & 277/7 (Chris Woakes 84*, Jos Buttler 75; Yasir Shah 4-99) by three wickets.