England’s brave declaration has created an incredible finish to a remarkable first Test at Rawalpindi against Pakistan.
At tea the hosts were 257-5, with Agha Salman on 35 and Ali Azhar on 37, chasing a target of 343 for a remarkable victory, having given up the most runs on a first day in the history of Test cricket.
The English had hoped to claim victory after declaring at 264-7 but found themselves repelled by both the Pakistan middle order and some surprising reviews.
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MATCH CENTRE: Day 5 at Rawalpindi scorecard, videos and more
Just before tea Jack Leach appeared to have found the breakthrough when an LBW shout was given out, but it was overturned on appeal after a shockingly high level of bounce was tipped by the ball tracking.
“It didn’t look like it would have the energy to reach the stumps, never mind jump over them,” one of the English analysts said on Sky Cricket.
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Left-hander Saud Shakeel hit a solid maiden half-century Monday as Pakistan glided towards a tempting England target on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Rawalpindi.
The 27-year-old was unbeaten on 63 – with Mohammad Rizwan on 42 – as Pakistan reached 169-3 at lunch, needing another 174 in the final two sessions with seven wickets intact after being set a target of 343.
England toiled hard for wickets but managed only one in the extended 135-minute session, when pacer James Anderson had opener Imam-ul-Haq caught down the leg side by keeper Ollie Pope for 48.
Anderson loomed as the difference maker as, at 7:15pm AEDT, with 1683 runs having been scored over the Test he shut down the Pakistan attack – taking two wickets and conceding 16 runs across 14 overs.
England scored a record 657 in their first innings before dismissing Pakistan for 579.
The mammoth scoring prompted severe criticism of the Rawalpindi pitch, but the Test sprang to life after England batted briskly in their second innings before declaring at 264-7 on Sunday to set up an intriguing final day.
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Resuming at 80-2, Pakistan added just 13 in the first 65 minutes with Rizwan not scoring off the first 23 balls he faced.
He changed gear, however, hitting five boundaries and two sixes to begin the chase proper in an unbroken 80-run fourth wicket stand with Shakeel.
Shakeel cracked Leach for two boundaries to complete his half-century off 104 balls.
England are on their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005, having declined to visit in the interim years on security grounds.
The second Test is in Multan from December 9-13, and the third in Karachi from December 17-21.