England continued to reach new heights during their historic series victory in Pakistan, with plenty of standout performances helping them secure a narrow win in the second Test.
A stubborn Pakistan threatened to chase down their challenging victory target of 355 in Multan, only for England to dismiss the hosts of 328 to grab an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
England had never previously won two Tests in a single away tour in Pakistan, with Ben Stokes hailing the “special” achievement of his side, but which of his line-up deserves extra plaudits? Sky Sports takes a closer look…
Zak Crawley – 5
19 and 3
Crawley was unable to replicate his batting brilliance from the previous week in Rawalpindi, where he followed a 122 with a half-century, as the 24-year-old became the first England wicket to fall in both innings.
A cautious 19 on the opening morning was ended when he lunged forward at a turning delivery from debutant Abrar Ahmed and was bowled before giving his wicket away in the second innings when he was run out chasing a single that never looked like a viable option.
Ben Duckett – 8
63 and 79
Duckett has required little time to adjust back into Test cricket after his six-year absence with back-to-back half-centuries as an opener playing a key role in helping England set Pakistan such an unlikely victory target.
Sweep shots dominated Duckett’s play against spin in the first innings, with his 63 from 49 deliveries and second-wicket partnership with Ollie Pope the catalyst for England’s record-breaking opening session.
Duckett admitted he “tried to sweep every ball” from Abrar, who trapped him lbw when he missed an attempted reverse sweep, while the same bowler removed him on 79 in the second innings when looking set to threaten a second century in as many matches.
Joe Root – 7
8 and 21; 2-23 and 1-65
It was another landmark week in Root’s Test career although it was his achievements with the ball on this occasion that stood out above his undoubted batting talents.
Root failed to provide a significant contribution with the bat in either innings, being trapped lbw by Abrar for just eight before the same bowler removed him for 21 via a stunning Shafique catch.
A double-wicket maiden helped fast-track Pakistan’s batting collapse in the first innings, enabling England to build a 79-run first-innings lead, while Root’s smart slip catch ended Imam-ul-Haq’s dangerous innings late on day three.
Root also made the early breakthrough on the final day as he removed Faheem Ashraf, a wicket that saw him become just the third player in Test history to register 50+ wickets having scored over 10,000 runs.
Harry Brook – 9
9 and 108
Brook has immediately settled into the England fold like a Test veteran, with the 23-year-old enjoying a second successive century on his way to being crowned Player of the Match.
A cheap dismissal in the first innings, where he skied the ball in the air and provided Mohammad Nawaz the easiest of catches, was quickly rectified in his next as he provided the glue that kept England’s scorecard together.
As wickets fell around him, Brook posted a brilliant 108 from 149 deliveries to help England move towards a match-winning lead. Brook admitted post-match that he “tried to learn” from the “mistake” of getting out cheaply – he certainly did that!
Ben Stokes – 8
30 and 41
A tactical masterclass once again from the England captain.
Stokes cast himself in somewhat of a supporting role throughout the Test as he pulled the strings, providing a solid partner to the electric Harry Brook in the second innings before being dismissed when level with coach Brendon McCullum’s record for the most Test sixes (107).
Stokes kept himself out of the bowling attack and it proved to be another inspired move as Mark Wood secured four crucial wickets in the second innings, Ollie Robinson and Jimmy Anderson also firing with the ball in hand on a tricky wicket.
A constant reassuring presence on the field, he always seemed in control of the game plan and, in the end, his confidence in his team was rewarded.
Will Jacks – 6
31 and 4; 0-18 and 0-15
Jacks’ best moment came in the first innings as he put in a solid 31 from 44 balls with the bat, coming in at No 7 after the dismissal of Ben Stokes and taking up that supporting role to Brook.
After a solid opening innings, Jacks couldn’t get firing in the second as he attempted to slog-sweep a fantastic googly from Abrar and was sent walking for four runs from just four balls.
Jacks bowled just eight overs across the Test and, despite failing to get a wicket, averaged just four runs an over on a tricky wicket for England’s spin as he continues to learn and grow in the England camp.
Ollie Robinson – 8
5 and 3; 1-2 and 2-23
Another star of England’s pace attack, Robinson was the provider of the final wicket that sealed England’s win as Mohammad Ali was caught behind for a duck.
He also got the better of Pakistan’s star captain Babar Azam in both innings, removing him from a solid partnership in the first innings for 75 runs before a sublime delivery saw him dismissed for just one run on day three.
Robinson’s contribution wasn’t limited to the ball, also playing his part in the field, taking the catch to remove Nawaz in the first innings in another solid performance for the Sussex man.
Mark Wood – 9
36no and 6; 2-40 and 4-65
Returning to international cricket is no small feat but Mark Wood made it look effortless as he played a starring role with the ball for England.
After helping to remove Pakistan’s lower order in the first innings, Wood took control in the second as his pace provided the key breakthrough on England’s route to victory.
His dismissal of both Saud Shakeel and Nawaz just before lunch swung the momentum back in England’s favour as Pakistan quickly ran out of batting options.
He wasn’t too shabby with the bat either, firing an unbeaten 36 in the first innings that included eight boundaries, securing some useful late runs as England set a target of 355. Indeed, without them, England would be heading into a series decider.
Jack Leach – 7.5
0 and 0no; 4-98 and 1-113
Leach’s biggest moments of the Test came in the first innings as he consistently troubled Pakistan’s batters, removing four of the opening seven to help England take control.
The first innings also saw him secure a landmark 100th Test wicket for his dismissal of Mohammad Nawaz, becoming only the 14th England player to do so this century in a reminder of his consistency on the international stage.
A tricky wicket for spin in the second innings reduced Leach’s efficacy, but he struck at the most pivotal of moments just before the end of play on day three to remove Imam on 60 and derail Pakistan’s strong start in a moment that changed the game.
James Anderson – 8
7 and 4; 1-16 and 2-44
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the Jaffa that Anderson delivered to dismiss Mohammad Rizwan in the second innings, finding a perfect line and leaving Rizwan in complete disbelief at the masterclass he had just witnessed.
Anderson also removed a key player in Pakistan’s first innings as Imam walked for a duck, providing the catalyst for Pakistan’s batting collapse and giving England a solid lead after two days of play.
Whilst his batting pales in comparison to the importance of his bowling, the reverse sweep for a boundary that he played on his first ball faced in the second innings was another moment to stop and appreciate the talent on display.
Watch England’s tour of Pakistan live on Sky Sports. Coverage of the third Test begins on Saturday from 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event, with play getting underway at 5am.
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