England destroy Pakistan to take series lead

(Reuters) – Superb pace bowling, immaculate catching and astute captaincy combined to forge a thrilling final-day victory for England, who dismissed Pakistan for 201 to win the third test by 141 runs and go 2-1 up in the series. England refused to be cowed by a 103-run first-innings deficit, building a 343-run lead when they batted again and then destroying the tourists with an immaculate performance in the field that saw six wickets tumble between lunch and tea.

Pakistan’s most determined resistance came in the final session when a last-wicket stand of 50 between Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali frustrated England as the overs ticked down and play entered the final hour.

Steve Finn
Steve Finn

But, on 36, Sohail drove a flighted delivery from Moeen Ali straight back at the bowler, who safely clung on to a catch that sparked wild celebrations among Alastair Cook’s side.

With a rare sense of symmetry, each of England’s five bowlers took two wickets although it required a devastating spell by Steve Finn and Chris Woakes, which yielded four wickets for just one run, to open up the innings.

Finn, who has faced criticism for his performances this summer, led the way by taking the vital wickets of Misbah-ul-Haq — his first wicket in 414 balls this series — and Sami Aslam. The opener had led the fight with a determined 70, his second half-century of the game.

At the other end, Woakes proved equally lethal, trapping Asad Shafiq without scoring and then having Sarfraz Ahmed well caught by Joe Root in the slips for another duck. That wicket was Woakes’ 23rd of a prolific series.

Earlier, Stuart Broad struck the first blow, removing opener Mohammad Hafeez for two while Moeen accounted for first-innings centurion Azhar Ali for 38 with a deceptive delivery that was edged to Cook at slip.

Jimmy Anderson also weighed in, having Younus Khan caught behind on four and then removing Yasir Shah for seven just after tea.

The result vindicated Cook’s strategy of batting on in the morning when England extended their second innings to 445 for six.

The final test in the four-match series is at the Oval on Aug. 12.

Scoreboard

England 1st innings 297
(G. Ballance 70, M. Ali 63; S. Khan 5-96)
Pakistan 1st innings 400
(A. Ali 139, S. Aslam 82, Misbah-ul-Haq 56)
England 2nd innings 445 for 6 decl
(M. Ali 86no, J. Bairstow 83, A. Cook 66, J. Root 62, A. Hales 54)
Pakistan 2nd innings
(Overnight: 148-7; Target: 343 runs)
M. Hafeez c Woakes b Broad               2
S. Aslam b Finn                                     70
Az. Ali c Cook b Ali                               38
Y. Khan c Bairstow b Anderson           4
Misbah-ul-Haq c Bairstow b Finn    10
A. Shafiq lbw b Woakes                       0
S. Ahmed c Root b Woakes                 0
Y. Shah c Hales b Anderson               7
M. Amir c Woakes b Broad              16
So. Khan c&b Ali                      36
R. Ali not out                                       15
Extras (lb-2 nb-1)                               3
Total (all out, 70.5 overs) 201
Fall of wickets: 1-6 M. Hafeez,2-79 Az. Ali,3-92 Y. Khan,4-124 Misbah-ul-Haq,5-125 A. Shafiq,6-125 S. Ahmed,7-125 S. Aslam,8-149 Y. Shah,9-151 M. Amir,10-201 So. Khan
Bowling J. Anderson 13 – 3 – 31 – 2 S. Broad 15 – 7 – 24 – 2(nb-1) C. Woakes 11 – 2 – 53 – 2 S. Finn 13 – 5 – 38 – 2 M. Ali 17.5 – 4 – 49 – 2 J. Root 1 – 0 – 4 – 0
Referees Umpire: Bruce Oxenford
Umpire: Joel Wilson
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena
Match referee: Richie Richardson
Result: England won by 141 runs

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