Spinners help Pakistan seal Test series 2-0 against England

Sharjah: Pakistan’s spinners helped Pakistan record a convincing 127-run win against England to seal three-match Test 2-0 on Thursday, the final day of the third and final Test at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

With that result, Pakistan rose to the second spot on the Test table, a spot they have not held since 2006.

England had resumed the day on 46 for 2, chasing 284 for a win. The trio of Shoaib Malik, the off-spinner, Yasir Shah, the leg-spinner, and Zulfiqar Babar, the left-arm spinner, took nine wickets between them as England was bowled out for 156. The loss pushed England down to No. 6 in the ranking.

Shah was the pick of the lot, returning figures of 4 for 44, while Malik, playing his last Test, having announced his retirement from the format on Tuesday, took 3 for 26. Babar took the important wickets of James Taylor, the first-innings half-centurion, and Samit Patel.

Alastair Cook fought valiantly for England with a 63, but was left waging a lone battle as Pakistan’s bowlers kept chipping away. The England captain was eventually the ninth man dismissed when he was stumped off Malik as the bowler dragged his length back and Cook, who had given him the charge, was left with no answer. Cook had resisted Pakistan’s spinners on a turning track for 241 minutes, his 164-ball knock comprising four boundaries.

In the next over, Shah had Ben Stokes stumped to seal the game for Pakistan.

At one stage, Pakistan had reduced England to 59 for 6 in the morning session. Adil Rashid then led the recovery in the company of Cook. The duo added 49 for the seventh wicket off 128 balls. Rashid ate up 72 balls for his 22 before Rahat Ali got one to reverse-swing and uprooted his stumps.

Cook soon raised his 46th Test fifty with a single off Rahat.

At the start of the day, Pakistan made some early inroads as England lost four wickets in just over five overs.

Joe Root was the first to fall when he was trapped leg-before off a Shah delivery that kept low. Root could not add to his overnight tally and was dismissed on the same score of 6.

James Taylor then edged Babar to Younus Khan at slip before Shah trapped Jonny Bairstow in front as the batsman missed the sweep and was struck on the thigh.

Samit Patel fell to Babar in the next over, the left-arm spinner trapping the batsman in front and leaving England 59 for 6. Cook and Rashid them combined for the recovery and ensured that England got past 72 – its lowest total against Pakistan, at Abu Dhabi in 2012. Rashid fell with 15 minutes to go for the lunch interval.

England was unlucky to miss out on a win in the first Test when bad light had the final say with the visiting side just 24 runs away. Pakistan then won the second Test in Abu Dhabi by 178 runs. The win saw Misbah-ul-Haq become Pakistan’s most successful captain ever.

The two teams will next play a four-match One-Day International series, before the tour concludes with three Twenty20 Internationals.