|Ground:||Old Trafford, Manchester|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||JM Anderson, Misbah-ul-Haq, AN Cook|
|Event:||Pakistan in England and Ireland 2016|
DateLine: 25th July 2016
By Andy Jalil at Old Trafford
In association with INVESTEC
England level series with impressive win in second Test
Manchester Ė After an avalanche of runs, England inflicted a crushing defeat on Pakistan by a convincing margin of 330 runs in the second Test of what has the makings of a highly exciting series with two Tests remaining. With Pakistanís lamentable batting for the second time in the match the mammoth target of 565 runs set by England seemed beyond them and their second innings was wrapped up for 234 on the fourth day.
Pakistan had all but 50 minutes of the fourth day plus the fifth day to chase a demoralising target but considering that the highest successful fourth innings total to win a Test was 418, by West Indies against Australia at St. Johnís Ground in Antigua in May, 2003, this was going to be monumental and unlikely task for Pakistan to achieve.
By lunch James Anderson had removed the first two wickets. He had the left-handed Shan Masood edge to second slip where Alastair Cook took a low catch and six overs later he trapped Azhar Ali lbw with the ball moving in and looking to clip the leg stump. That was 25 for two and by the end of the first session Pakistan had added 22 runs. After lunch Mohammad Hafeez played some aggressive shots including going down the pitch and lifting Moeen Ali for six over long on to take his score to 37.
Moeen, who had been brought on in a double bowling change along with Ben Stokes, accounted for Hafeezís wicket with a bat and pad catch snapped up by Gary Ballance at short leg. He had put on 58 for the third wicket with Misbah-ul-Haq. Stokes was unlucky when Cook at first slip dropped Younus Khan on 3. The former Pakistan captain then progressed to 28 before lofting Moeen for a fine running catch by Alex Hales at long-on with the total 102 for four.
Misbah began his innings in aggressive fashion, after taking a single he hit Moeen for six over wide mid-on and then settled into a more steady innings. But Chris Woakes, bowling for the first time in the second session, had the Pakistan captain play-on with the ball going off the inside edge on to his stumps for 35 and Pakistan had lost half their wickets for 145.
The sixth and seventh wickets fell within four runs. Sarfraz Ahmed was unsuccessful with his appeal after being caught behind off the gloves off Woakes and Asad Shafiq hit 39 before Anderson had him shuffling across the stumps. With contributions of 19 and 29 respectively from numbers 9 and 10 the tourists were helped to 234 all out as Anderson, Moeen and Woakes finished with three wickets each.
Earlier, with Cook not deciding to declare the England second innings overnight, as many expected, despite the huge lead of 489, England continued to pile on the runs with Cook himself and Joe Root scoring rapidly from the start. Cook, who was on 49 overnight, brought up his 50th Test half century from 55 balls, his fastest, off the fourth ball of the day when he drove Amir square on the off. Root was quick too to score and their running between the wickets showed fine understanding.
Root soon moved on to 46 when he took three fours in four balls in an over from Rahat Ali which cost 14 runs. These were beautiful shots, the first was a flick off his pads then a pull which went one bounce over the boundary followed by another powerful pull. He raced to his 21st Test fifty from just 38 balls equalling his previous fastest half century with a slog/sweep off Yasir Shah. In doing so he also became the third England player to score 250 and a 50 in each innings of a Test after Andrew Sandham and Graham Gooch who, in fact had gone on to a triple century (in the first innings) against India at Lordís in 1990.
Rahat Aliís three overs were expensive and he was replaced by part-time off spinner Azhar Ali after conceding 28 runs while Cook and Root brought up the hundred of their stand from 83 balls, the second 50 of which took just 34 balls. After 40 minutes play, Cook, with his score on 76 from 78 balls with nine fours, declared the innings on 173 for one with Root on 71 from just 48 balls and 40 of those runs had come from fours. Englandís lead by then had stretched to a fantasy figure of 564.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 Andy Jalil)