Edgbaston’s status as England’s favourite ground was reinforced yet again as Alastair Cook’s team charged to a thrilling 141-run victory in the third Investec Test at Edgbaston.
England will head to The Oval for the fourth and final Test 2-1 up after a brilliant collective effort from the bowlers on the final day.
England worked their way steadily through the top order and then delivered the sort of sensational burst to which Edgbaston has inspired them so often over the years.cite=
Pakistan were set a target of 343 in 84 overs, but while that looked difficult for the tourists, the taking of ten wickets was also far from easy on a good pitch.
But England worked their way steadily through the top order and then delivered the sort of sensational burst to which Edgbaston has inspired them so often over the years.
From 124 for three, Pakistan lost four wickets for one run in 23 balls. Two wickets apiece for Chris Woakes and Steven Finn reduced them to 125 for seven – and there was no way back.
The last three wickets were wrapped up after tea, Pakistan were 201 all out and a Test which had enthralled 81,832 spectators over its duration was England’s.
Both sides went into the final day knowing that to win, they would have to make history. England needed to become the first team to win an Edgbaston Test having batted first and trailed by more than 100, while Pakistan had to comfortably exceed the record fourth-innings chase in a Test in Birmingham – 283 by South Africa in 2008.
Misbah-ul-Haq dug in – then at 124 for three came that Woakes/Finn blitz.cite=
After England resumed on 414 for five, Moeen Ali made their intentions clear with two sixes and a four from successive balls from Yasir Shah. Jonny Bairstow (83, 127 balls, eight fours) fell lbw to Sohail Khan but Moeen was unbeaten on 86 (96 balls, ten fours, two sixes) when the declaration arrived.
For the second time in the match England then enjoyed an early bonus when Mohammad Hafeez perished carelessly, this time pulling Stuart Broad straight to long-leg, but Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali saw their side through to 69 for one at lunch – and keep all results still possible.
To take nine wickets in two sessions was a huge ask but Moeen struck a vital blow when Azhar (38, 75 balls, five fours) edged to second slip and Anderson added another when Younis Khan nicked an away-swinger.
Aslam and captain Misbah-ul-Haq dug in – then at 124 for three came that Woakes/Finn blitz.
Finn unleashed a perfect leg-cutter to find the edge of Misbah’s bat. Woakes won an lbw decision to leave Asad Shafiq nursing a pair and had Sarfraz Ahmed caught at second slip. When, on the brink of tea, the concentration of Aslam (70, 167 balls, 11 fours) at last buckled and he left a ball from Finn which hit off-stump, it was 125 for seven.
England began the last session with 28 overs in which to take three wickets. Anderson required five balls to supply the first of them, as Shah edged high to gully.
Mohammad Amir sliced Broad to point where Woakes took a smart, low catch. After a breezy and engaging last-wicket partnership of 50, Moeen took a fine return catch to dismiss Sohail Khan – the last act of an enthralling match between two of the world’s best teams at one of the world’s most famous and evocative Test venues.