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Unbridled joy for Pakistan in epic Test win at Lord's

By Chris Stocks

The sight of Pakistan's players lining up on the outfield, saluting Misbah-ul-Haq, their captain, and then dropping to the floor to do a series of group press-ups told of the tourists' joy at sealing their country's first Test win at Lord's in 20 years.

This success, by 75 runs as the hosts ultimately fell short in their pursuit of 283 for victory, was proof positive that this side will be a tough unit to crack for England in this four-match series.

Misbah had celebrated his hundred on the first day here with a series of press-ups, a nod to the army training camp his squad had undergone before leaving Pakistan and an exercise that has imbued the tourists with a real sense of togetherness and unity.

Talk of England moving up to No2 in the world rankings can be shelved for now as Alastair Cook and his team contemplate the 1-0 deficit they will take into next week's second Test at Old Trafford.

England will have James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, and all-rounder Ben Stokes back by then.

But they will still have to find a way of countering the best bowling attack they have faced since the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia, when Mitchell Johnson et al inflicted a humiliating 5-0 series whitewash.

Key to Pakistan's victory was leg-spinner Yasir Shah, whose 10 wickets ­- including four on this fourth day - hurried his team to a first victory at Lord's since 1996.

Mohammad Amir, too, will remember this occasion for a long time, his first Test since his spot-fixing shame here in 2010 finished with the match-winning wicket of Jake Ball shortly after 6pm.

England knew they would have to at least equal their highest successful Lord's run chase of 282 against New Zealand in 2004 whatever happened on this fourth day.

Yet they will have been pleased to have taken Pakistan's final two second-innings wickets for the cost of just one run in the morning session, Stuart Broad mopping up Shah and Amir within 13 balls as the tourists made 215.

Cook then got England's chase off to the perfect start when crunching the first ball of the innings from Amir through point for four.

The positive intent from the hosts was obvious, but that positivity was tempered when Rahat Ali removed Cook for eight in the fourth over, the opener feathering an edge behind.

Rahat struck twice more to reduce England to 47 for three, Hales caught at first slip driving and Joe Root perishing in the deep attempting to pull positively.

By lunch, with James Vince joined at the crease by Gary Ballance, England had moved onto 90 for three - 193 runs shy of victory but by no means out of the contest.

Things got harder, though, 10 balls after the interval when Vince, on 42, fended an outswinger from Wahab Riaz to second slip to end a 49-run fourth-wicket stand.

The question marks over Vince's suitability for Test cricket remain and next week's second Test may be his final chance.

Ballance, back in the team for the first time in a year, looked in good touch as he made 43.

But there was little he could do to prevent his dismissal, bowled round his legs by Shah to a delivery that turned dramatically out of the rough and crashed into leg stump.

Moeen Ali, England's spinner, lasted just four balls as he gifted Shah his second wicket of the innings when he was bowled charging down the pitch. That brain fade saw England stumble into tea on 155 for six, needing 128 to win.

With Jonny Bairstow in the form of his life this summer and Chris Woakes, who made an unbeaten 35 in the first innings, at the crease, home hopes of victory were not completely dead.

But the seventh-wicket pair needed to dig deep.

The target had been reduced to 88 by the time Bairstow, two runs shy of a half-century, was bowled by Shah.

It was an injudicious pull not in keeping with the pace of the game after tea, when Bairstow and Woakes had taken 171 balls to compile the sixth-slowest half-century stand in Test history.

Things were quickening up in this match, though, when Broad was bowled by an Amir yorker as England lost their second wicket in the space of three balls to slip to 196 for eight.

The next delivery saw Steven Finn given out lbw to Amir, only for the England man to survive on review thanks to an inside edge.

However, Pakistan, with Amir and Shah bowling in tandem, smelt blood and they were within touching distance of an historic triumph when Shah dismissed Woakes, cutting to second slip, to join the England man in taking 10 wickets in this match.

With 79 still needed for victory and debutant Ball and Steven Finn at the crease, England's cause was hopeless.

And Pakistan's victory was confirmed soon after when Amir bowled Ball to spark those wild celebrations on the Lord's outfield.

Belfast Telegraph


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