A dramatic three-wicket victory for the hosts England in the first test against Pakistan and the credits go to an amazing 139 runs partnership between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler. England were chasing Pakistan 277 on the fourth day and at one point were 117/5. The England duo of Chris Woakes and Jos Butler put up stellar knocks of 84 and 75 runs, respectively.
England won the first match at Manchester by 3 wickets. The 6th wicket partnership between Chris Woakes and Jos Butler was the key match-winner for England who struggled in the first innings only putting up 219 on the board. This is also the highest successful run chase at Old Trafford since England made 294 to beat New Zealand in 2008.
We Were In Control Of The Game, But They Came And Dominated Us: Azhar Ali
Pakistani skipper Azhar Ali said they had the game in control until the brilliant partnership of the England duo for the 6th wicket. He hailed Chris Woakes and Jos Butler’s partnership as one of the best partnerships in recent past.
“We just have to credit Woakes and Buttler. They took the game on after the fifth wicket from the first ball. They started playing shots and this is one of the best partnerships in the recent past. We were in control of the game; we were one punch away from finishing the game off, but they came and dominated us during that period. At times we were kind of unlucky but for the most part, they were brilliant,” Azhar Ali told ESPN Cricinfo
“They knew it wouldn’t be possible to win if they kept batting the normal way. Maybe when the ball got a little softer, it wasn’t doing as much as it did when it was new, especially for the quicks. Buttler, when he’s against spin, can play 360 degrees so it’s hard to set an attacking field on him. He put pressure on us, it worked for him, and he outplayed us in that period,” he added.
It’s never over until it’s over says Azhar Ali on Test Cricket
Azhar Ali mentioned about having the control of the game and their chance to knock off England which they failed to do. He said test cricket is unpredictable, you never know when the tables turn. The captain feels they became the prey of an exceptional partnership which took the match away from them.
“I wouldn’t say we lost the match in our second innings, but we missed a chance to knock England out of the game there. That is a missed opportunity. But only once has such a huge total ever been chased at Old Trafford. We were on top and with the tail coming in, we were sure we’d wrap it up if one more wicket fell. But they attacked from the off and snatched the game away from us,” said Azhar Ali
“I’ve been playing Test cricket for a long time and I know that Test cricket is hard. It’s never over until it’s over. This has been shown again today. The good thing is everyone stuck to their task and unfortunately, we were outdone by a brilliant partnership. Yes, in hindsight a lot of things can be done, but when they came and attacked the spinners, playing sweep shots and reverse sweeps. It all worked for him. Unfortunately, nothing worked for us and when you play innings like that, you have to be a little lucky and fortune favoured them. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the opposition,” he added.
England got a target of 277 in the second innings and got off to a poor start chasing as they lost wickets in quick succession. The Pakistani bowlers kept the England batsman on toes as they struck off quick wickets in regular intervals and kept the pressure on. The 6th wicket partnership of Chris Woakes and wicket-keeper Jos Buttler stiched up a 139 run partnership to bag the first test match and lead the series 1-0 against the visitors.