A resounding innings-and-55-run victory over Pakistan within three days at Headingley helped England finish the two-match series at parity. Given how they fared at Lord’s, England needed this. Badly.

Quite a few of their players came in for strong criticism from big figures after the first Test – the verbals between Michael Vaughan, the former captain, and Stuart Broad are ongoing – but they channelled all that angst into a strong performance here. While Broad and Jimmy Anderson were back among the wickets, Dom Bess provided hope for the future. And the Jos Buttler call-up proved a masterstroke.

All in all, it was a near-perfect display from the home side.

[caption id=”attachment_73048″ align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Dom Bess starred in a near-perfect day for England Dom Bess starred in a near-perfect day for England[/caption]

Ebbs & Flows: How day 3 unfolded

  • England resumed the day at 302-7, a lead of 128. Pakistan would have hoped for three quick wickets to give their batsmen something reasonable to outscore, but Jos Buttler’s early fireworks ensured that wasn’t to be – from an overnight 34, he ended the innings unbeaten on 80, with 11 fours and two sixes to his name. He was in T20 mode.
  • The Pakistan pacemen rounded up the tail, but conceded 61 big runs in the process, and England had a massive first innings lead of 189.
  • The Pakistan batsmen couldn’t afford a repeat of their poor display in the first innings, when they were bundled out for 174. Unfortunately, Azhar Ali’s moment of madness – swinging across the line to Jimmy Anderson – resulted in him being bowled for just 11.
  • Anderson and Broad accounted for Harris Sohail and Asad Shafiq as Pakistan headed into tea teetering at 48-3. They badly needed a partnership after a disastrous first session.
  • It came via Usman Salahuddin and Imam-ul-Haq. The two added 42 solid runs for the fourth wicket, and for a while Pakistan had hope.
  • Dom Bess, playing just his second Test, eventually broke the stand in his first over. He had Imam trapped in front, and though the batsman opted for a review, it was in vain.
  • It was all England thereafter, with Sam Curran, the debutant, dismissing the Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed for just 8, before Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf followed suit.
  • Salahuddin, who had dug in all along, then departed after a seemingly frustrated loft off Bess was mistimed to a fielder. His 139-ball 33 comprised just two fours.
  • Broad then ran through the tail, sending back both Hasan Ali and Mohammad Abbas, to end with figures of 3-28.
  • The innings-and-55-run victory helped England finish the series at 1-1.

Moment of the day – Dom Bess maiden wicket

[caption id=”attachment_73046″ align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Dom Bess broke a crucial partnership for his maiden Test wicket Dom Bess broke a crucial partnership for his maiden Test wicket[/caption]

His reaction was one of pure, unadulterated joy. He had played his hand with the bat on day two, and had taken a blinder in the field, but this was when it all came pouring out. He had Imam-ul-Haq trapped in front to break a crucial stand for the fourth wicket, and the fact that the entire team rushed in to embrace him was telling. It was a moment that encapsulated everything great about this sport.

Man of the hour – Jos Buttler

There were doubters before this series. There had to be, given Buttler had taken the IPL route to return to the Test team. But he has quashed all the talk, the way he has gone about playing the last two Tests – two fifties in as many matches, with the one at Headingley tilting the scales in favour of England. Furthermore, when Nasser Hussain asked during the presentation ceremony whether he felt vindicated, his response was typical: “I’m just lucky.”

Day to forget – Azhar Ali

Ali has had a forgettable tour, going back to the first Test against Ireland. Just the one half-century in six innings – an aggregate of 73 runs at an average of 12.17. In an inexperienced batting line-up, the onus was on Ali to lead by example, but he failed to do that by some way.

[caption id=”attachment_73047″ align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Jos Buttler scored an unbeaten 80 in the morning to propel England Jos Buttler scored an unbeaten 80 in the morning to propel England[/caption]

Final thought

An enjoyable Test series, and a pretty fair result. Pakistan were the best team at Lord’s, England came roaring back in Leeds. With a 1-0 win in Ireland, and 1-1 over in England, Pakistan will be pretty happy. Not many gave their young batsmen a chance in seaming conditions, but they held their own, especially in the first Test.

As for England, the victory at Headingley was desperately needed. There were plenty of critics – rightly so – laying into them after Lord’s, and as Root said afterwards, they showed character to bounce back.

Team ratings

England: 9/10
Pakistan: 4/10

Player Ratings


Alastair Cook: 7/10
Keaton Jennings: 6/10
Joe Root: 6/10
Dawid Malan: 6/10
Jonny Bairstow: 6/10
Dom Bess: 8/10
Jos Buttler: 9/10
Sam Curran: 6/10
Chris Woakes: 7/10
Stuart Broad: 8/10
James Anderson: 7/10


Imam-ul-Haq: 5/10
Azhar Ali: 3/10
Haris Sohail: 6/10
Asad Shafiq: 6/10
Usman Salahuddin: 7/10
Sarfraz Ahmed: 5/10
Shadab Khan: 7/10
Faheem Ashraf: 6/10
Hasan Ali: 6/10
Mohammad Amir: 7/10
Mohammad Abbas: 7/10