Mark Wood fires England to 'special' series victory in Pakistan

Fast-bowler takes four wickets in Multan as tourists secure 26-run win on Monday

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A magnificent spell from fast-bowler Mark Wood helped England secure a thrilling 26-run victory on Monday in the second Test in Multan and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Wood finished with 4-65 as Pakistan were dismissed about 50 minutes after lunch on Day 4, having been set a challenging 355-run target.

Pakistan started the day on 198-4, requiring 157 more runs to win with six wickets remaining, they slid from 290-5 to all out for 328.

Wood, who missed England's 74-run win in the first Test in Rawalpindi with a hip injury, turned the match in England's favour with the wickets of Mohammad Nawaz (45) and Saud Shakeel (94) in the space of 12 balls and one run.

The Shakeel wicket was not without controversy. TV umpire Joel Wilson took a long time looking at replays of Ollie Pope's diving catch, trying to determine whether or not the ball scraped the ground after the wicketkeeper took it in his gloves. The vital decision went England's way.

Pakistan slumped to 291-7 at lunch, and after the break Agha Salman (20 not out) and Abrar Ahmed (17) tried to hit out for an unlikely win to keep the series alive.

But James Anderson had Ahmed caught, Wood dismissed Zahid Mahmood without scoring and Ollie Robinson ended the match with the wicket of number eleven Mohammad Ali for zero, sparking celebrations in the England camp.

Anderson and Robinson took two wickets apiece as the tourists sealed their first series victory in Pakistan since 2000-01.

The win gives England their eighth win in the nine Tests since Brendon McCullum took over as head coach and Ben Stokes as captain in May this year.

“Coming into this game, being 1-0 up before we’d bowled a ball, I think we all understood what we could achieve before we started this game,” the England captain said.

“We’re not naive in the fact of what we know we’ve achieved here because we know how tough it is.

“Not just for English teams to come and win here but any team. Pakistan are a huge threat in their own conditions.

“Not for one minute are we going to think it’s just another Test series win. Beating Pakistan in Pakistan is massive.

“We know what we’ve achieved, we know that it’s a very special thing in English cricket to come here and win.”

Wood finished the match with six wickets and his dismissals of Shakeel and Nawaz proved a game-changer when Pakistan looked like they might get over the line.

“I’m shattered,” said the Durham quick. “It was hard-fought but that’s when it’s worth it in the end. Two games where the lads put so much in and, to get over the line, an amazing feeling really.

“I’m just absolutely knackered. To keep charging in and charging in was a big effort but we knew we were close and that’s what really spurs you on. To see the other lads digging in, you don’t want to let your mates down so you put in just as much.

“Stokesy said, ‘make a difference, change the game’, so that’s what I tried to do. Those wickets were key.”

Home captain Babar Azam admitted his team had fallen short despite pushing England close in the end. “We were not up to the mark in the first innings,” he said. “We fought back with the ball and we fought hard in the second innings but unfortunately, it didn't finish well.”

England will conclude their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005 with the third and final match in Karachi from Saturday.

Updated: December 12, 2022, 1:50 PM