Yorkshire had been waiting and remembering.Not long had the flames died from the Lord’s euphoria that up North,under a sunny sky at Leeds, Sarfraz Ahmad found himself calling the toss rightly for the first time as a skipper.His confidence in skipper hood must have for split second received a huge boost. It seemed that there was no doubt in his mind to bat ,similar to his counterpart calling at Lord’s.That confidence would have lasted for most part of an hour as the humidity at 11 am onwards and the traditional seam Headingley is famous for lit up many in the English camp who were at the back end of a lot of scrutiny the whole week.
The Greenshirts who always love to bat first regardless of the conditions, courtesy of lacking a chasing temperament would not have been so disheartened at 49/2 in the opening session. Then with Haris Sohail nicking one to second slip and Asad giving Cook first slip practice,the visitors found themselves at 68/4 at lunch.Both looked to have discovered some form at Lord’s.Worse was to come though.
At 79/7,with another failure from the skipper, it didnt look like 100 was possible. Shadab Khan’s third fifty in as many games with Hasan Ali’s cameo helped Pakistan towards a 174.Many had called it then,the test was done. It took 48.1 overs.Stuart Broad ,Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes,Wood’s replacement racked up three each.The Pakistan batting which had been dreaded pre tour for a dismal score had succumbed.Did someone mention “Mallender” ?
By the time England came to bat,it seemed there wasn’t much assistance left as Cook and Keaton Jennings set off for unique kind of opening ,not seen recently by the hosts achieving a fifty stand.England ended the day at 106/2, looking set for a lead.Despite rain holding up the first session on day 2,England carried on doggedly. Dominic Bess as a night watchman enjoyed himself on a 49 as they took the lead and built on it. Jos Butler ‘s dropped chance when he was 4 was the big spill of the day as he went on to make an unbeaten 80. Pakistan’s fielding wasn’t too bad but Hasan Ali’s drop was rued for some time.The lead was set at 189. The pitch now had levelled up, playing well for the batters.
I think that doesn’t count for the fact that this is Pakistan’s batting though.If one had slept through the second innings on day three, one would have just gone space through an action replay of what happened in a first, except running at a slightly faster pace.Imam criticised for the poor shot he played in the first innings managed 34 and the debutant Usman Salahuddin played with some caution for a 33.The rest were worth not even mentioning.Still have to see its hard seeing Azhar Ali struggling to plant that front foot post injury.Jimmy took him twice at Leeds.Pakistan scored a paltry 134 in 46 overs, just batting 92.1 in the whole game.The loss was an innings and 55 runs.They had shown no fight at all.
Broad took another three for in the second innings giving Michael Vaughan something to think about before he writes his next piece.Dominic Bess who starred with the bat outperformed Shadab as a spinner’s duel with a three-for of his own and found himself diving all around with the stunner.Even the new kid on the block,Sam Curran, the hosts’s third replacement took a wicket in each innings.England had bounced back and won a test match for the first time since early september last year at Lord’s against a weak Windies squad.A relief for Joe Root.
All that Lord’s euphoria, evaporated.Well ,Headingley has never been Pakistan’s cup of tea.Its their sixth defeat here against England.They haven’t been close to winning since their historic series winner of 1987, batting first or last.Yorkshire’s saturation of fans of Pakistani origin will have to wait another year before they find success, last seen in a ” home” test win over the Aussies eight years ago.
With the series squared, and no batsman managing a ton, Mohammad Abbas led the bowler in wickets and picked up a maiden man of the series award.He bodes well for the future especially on English wickets.Leicestershire will cherish him this season.
Reality has bitten back, but there ‘s plenty to learn from the loss here for the Greenshirts and some bright points will be taken from the series particularly the discipline shown at Lord’s and the young guns determination to strive.Till then,the North remembers !