Pakistan won the Test series 2-0, comprehensively beating England and becoming No.2 in TestsAs Ben Stokes danced down the track to launch Yasir Shah out of Sharjah, the ball spun past his flashing blade and settled in the hands of wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who completed an easy stumping. After three exciting Test matches, Pakistan had yet another win in UAE, their temporary home.There was more good news to follow, as they became the No, 2 ranked Test team in the world. As Misbah-ul-Haq happily accepted the Test trophy, the focus was firmly on Alastair Cook’s England who let many opportunities slip by and handed Pakistan a series win by meekly folding for 156 in the last Test.After a monotonous batting display in the first four days of the first Test, Pakistan collapsed spectacularly - but not before wasting several overs - to give England an outside chance of chasing 99 in 11 overs. Though England swung a couple. they were unable to complete it against a Test match field.The second match was also on a knife’s edge, before Wahab Riaz turned it in England’s way with a brilliant spell of fast bowling, before Yasir Shah outdid them in the second innings.It was the third Test which provided a typical subcontinent pitch - slow and spinning. While Pakistan batted freely, England did so with demons on their mind, which ended with them folding in the second innings. Pakistan had taken the series 2-0, and England were left to rue their chances.The series certainly had its moments - Cook and Malik’s double centuries in the same match, Adil Rashid’s five-for, Anderson and Broad’s spectacular spell on the first day of the last match. But how many of them were consistent enough in the series? Let’s check out the combined team of the series:
#1 Alastair Cook
With 450 runs from the three Tests, the England captain leads the way in the run-scorers list. He started off the first Test with an imperious 263 in the first innings on a dead pitch in Abu Dhabi.
His run-scoring feat lasted 528 balls and a mind-boggling 14 hours in the middle. Once Cook passed 250, it looked like he was destined for his first triple century, but he got out against the run of play.
Though Cook didn’t play any more big knocks in the series, he showed true grit and determination in the middle. Especially in the third and final Test when the pitch was spitting and fizzing, he played a lone hand as wickets crumbled around him. Even when most batsmen couldn’t account for the turn, Cook provided a dead bat and kept the Pakistani bowlers at bay.
Cook faced 950 deliveries in the series, the third-highest by any England batsman in a three Test series in Asia. Cooks’ resurgence in form is good news for England who need their captain to step up in the next few months where they will face formidable opponents.