Rehan Ahmed enjoys 'dream come true' as England close on series clean-sweep in Pakistan

Leg spinner becomes youngest player to claim a five-wicket haul on his Test debut

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A record-breaking five-wicket haul by Rehan Ahmed has left England on the brink of clinching an historic 3-0 series clean-sweep over Pakistan.

The 18-year-old finished with 5-48, making him the youngest leg-spinner to take a five-wicket haul in an innings of a men's Test, as Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for 52 runs.

The hosts were bowled out for 216 on Day 3 in Karachi, leaving England a modest victory chase of just 167 runs. And, such is the new attacking mentality now installed under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, the visitors raced to 111-2 at stumps, needing just 55 runs to condemn Pakistan to their first 3-0 whitewash on home turf.

It would also mean England have sealed a memorable series victory in their first test tour to Pakistan in 17 years thanks to a second successive win inside four days following its thrilling 26-run victory at Multan last week.

The tourists won the first Test by 74 runs in dimming light on a remarkable last day on a flat wicket in Rawalpindi.

“Probably the best day of my life again. To get five on my debut is a dream come true. It's great,” said a delighted Ahmed. “Because it was reversing a bit I didn't get used. Stokes just said 'stay ready' like you always have to be but I was enjoying it regardless out there.

“I've bowled better balls and got wickets so just to get Babar Azam out is a dream come true. He's a very good player. [Ollie] Pope has got good hands so it's good the ball went to him. I liked (Mohammad] Rizwan's wicket because I've been working on my leg spin for the last two years. To get one to spin on the other side was great.

“My googly is quite natural. When I started bowling leg spin I could only bowl googly so my leg spin has been a work on, and obviously my googly is as well. Hopefully I get that leg spin spinning more.”

It was the introduction of teenager Ahmed in the afternoon session that helped turn the momentum England’s way.

He broke a 110-run partnership between Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel that had looked to have given Pakistan a lifeline after Jack Leach (3-72) had earlier reduced the host to 54-3.

Ahmed then followed up his key dismissal of Pakistan captain Babar for 54 with two more vital breakthroughs – those of Rizwan (seven) and Saud Shakeel (53) – as Pakistan slumped from 164-3 to 177-6 at tea.

Ahmed then picked up where he left off in the evening session with two more wickets to complete his five-fer as the hosts were bowled out for 216.

Following Ahmed’s efforts, England’s chase started in breathtaking fashion as the required total was rapidly chopped to 80 before Zak Crawley was out lbw having hit 41 runs from as many balls.

Ahmed was sent in at No 3 in an attempt to push the scoring along but he made only 10 before being bowled by Abrar Ahmed, and looked furious with himself, hitting the bat on his way off the field.

Stokes pushed himself up the order to No 4, and played an entertaining innings that included inadvertently launching his bat almost to the feet of the square leg umpire in an attempt to find a boundary for England.

He will begin on Tuesday morning alongside opener Ben Duckett, who cracked an unbeaten 50 off 38 balls.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 1:38 PM