Pakistan travelled to England in July and returned in September. During the span the cricket world saw ups and downs of both teams in all three formats of the game.
Four match Test series
Pakistan side led by Misbah UlHaq faced Alastair Cook and his men in the opening Test at Lord’s. The visitors put up a solid of cricket skills and with help of the captain’s ton, they posted 339 in the first innings.
In response England recorded only 272 runs but the tourists add another 215 from the later innings and eventually sealed the match by 75 runs.
Chris Woakes bagged 11 wickets but Yasir Shah stole the limelight in the ICC Test bowling rankings. He became number one in the world with his 10 for 141 in the match. Mustering it further, he became the first leg-spinner since Shane Warne in 2005 to occupy the top rank.
Misbah also became the oldest captain to lead a team to glory and became the oldest player to post a century since more than six years.
The beaming visitors lost their track in the second Test at Old Trafford. England jolted down an amazing 589 from first innings and then added 173 in the second. In reply Pakistan could only post 198 and 234 from their innings and ultimately suffered a heavy 330-run loss.
Chris Woakes grabbed seven wickets and Moeen Ali also managed to get a five-wicket haul in the match. Joe Root was the star of the match after posting his double ton and leading his side to glory.
In the third match at Edgbaston, the home side carried their rhythm. England were trailing by 100 runs after the first innings. However, the English side bounced back and clawed a 161-run victory by the end of the match.
Sohail Khan claimed five wickets in the first innings but his sides’ batsmen failed to click in the second, eventually leading Pakistan to endure another defeat.
In the second innings each of England’s top five bowlers bagged a pair. Overall Start Broad and Woakes recorded a five-wicket haul in the match and inched closer towards becoming the number one team in this format despite standing at fourth spot.
In the final match of the Test series The Oval in London, Pakistan re-structured themselves. Younis Khan’s double ton and AsadShafiq’s century heped the visitors to post 542 in response of England’s first inning tally of 328.
England managed to take few runs lead in the second innings and Pakistan ultimately sealed the victory with 10 wickets on their independence day 14th August.
Sohail Khan picked up five wickets from the opening innings whereas Yasir Shah bagged five in the second innings as Pakistan secured a win and squared the series. The 42 year old skipper was named Man of the Series after the match.
After the match ended, the beaming captain stated in a post-match press conference, “This team has given so much to me, playing and proving people wrong, that’s giving me incentive to play for Pakistan. I will go back and think about it, it’s really important the team is first. Felt like we were playing at home, thank you very much, we let them down for a couple of Test matches but still they kept believing and coming. Really happy we won this Test on Independence Day.”
With Australia being whitewashed by lower ranked Sri Lanka and India failed to win by 3-0 margin against West Indies, Pakistan eventually became number one Test team in the world. They reached the top rank for the first time since the inception of ICC ranking system.
Five Match ODI Series
Despite becoming the number one team in the longest format, Pakistan lost their composure in the One Day Internationals. The ODI team was led by Azhar Ali and Pakistan did great in the one-off ODI match against Ireland in Dublin.
Azhar could only manage a single run in Dublin but Pakistan won by 255 runs in the end. The second match against Ireland was washout and Pakistan triumph the series.
However, they were not up against Ireland but an in-form England side led by Eoin Morgan. The home side were on great run of form with winning most of their recent ODI series after they crashed out of ICC World Cup 2015.
The struggling Greens, who are at number nine in the ICC ODI rankings, could only post 260 runs from 50 overs at Ageas Bowl. Only Azhar and the wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed could bag fifty in their innings.
The home side easily chased the target and eventually triumphed by 44 runs due to D/L method.
Pakistan were on quest to climb up the rankings in order to automatically qualify for the World Cup 2019. However, they failed to find the right path in the second ODI at Lord’s.
The skipper managed a duck as his side was reduced to thee for two. The number five batsman Sarfraz helped stabilized his side and led them post a tally of 251.
England openers failed to click but Joe Root and the captain Morgan stepped up. They eventually clinched the match by four wickets and 15 balls to spare.
The third ODI saw ODI records getting smashed at Trent Bridge. While batting first, England jolted down the highest ODI total of 444 for three. Alex Hales was the star of the match and he alone contributed 171 runs. During the process he broke the 23 year old record of Robin Smith of the highest individual score in ODI for England.
WahabRiaz was the villain for the visitors as he gave away 110 runs and failed to grab a wicket in the match. His figures are the second worst in ODI history with only three runs less than the player who have conceded most runs in this format.
In addition to this, Pakistani top order batsmen failed to click in the must win match. The number 11 Mohammad Amir bagged a fifty and posted the highest score at this position. However, he was alone trying to save Pakistan from recording their worst defeat ever.
The Greens subsequently lost the match by 169 runs in Nottingham and lost the series.
With the series being out of their hands, Pakistan still need to get some wins and close gap between the eighth ranked West Indies. However, they failed to deliver again at Headingley in the fourth ODI.
The Men in Green could only pen down 247 from 50 overs. The captain grabbed the highest score of 80 from his side but had a strike rate of only 76.92 in the match.
The local bowlers were on fire in Leeds. Adil Rashid pocketed three wickets whereas Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan bagged pair each.
Mohammad Irfan was called in for this match and he made a powerful initial impact. He claimed the wickets of the opener Jason Roy and Alex Hales early in the match. However, the 7’1” bowler could only bowl four competitive overs before he picked up cramps and was out of action for the remaining match.
The visitors finally suffered the defeat by four wickets with two overs in hand.
After the loss in Leeds, Pakistan were standing on a nine match ODI losing streak against Full Member nations and has lost seven straight games against England. Their last victory in ODI came in the end of 2015 at Abu Dhabi where they overpowered England convincingly.
In the final ODI at Sophia Gardens, England entered the ground with poise and easily posted 302 runs. Jason Roy and Ben Stokes both bagged half centuries in the match.
However, Hassan Ali grabbed four for 60 and Mohammad Amir bagged three wickets after giving away only 50 runs.
No team has ever chased 300 runs in Cardiff but Pakistan turned the tides towards their favour and fought all odds. Shoaib Malik’s 77 off 80 and Sarfraz’s 90 from 73 balls helped Pakistan secure their consolation victory in style. The visitors bagged the match with four wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare.
The Greens achieved the much-needed victory to boost their morale and end with good memories.
Both teams were scheduled to face off in a single T20 match on 7th September at Old Trafford which concluded the tour. However, Sarfraz Ahmed was the person leading the visitors in the match. This was his first match as a captain.
England were on great run of form in the shortest format of the game. They made it into the final showdown at World T20 earlier this year. They lost to West Indies in the final over but performed well throughout the tournament.
However, Pakistan unleashed their deadly skills from the start in Manchester. Wahab redeemed his Trent Bridge disastrous performance in the match as he grabbed three wickets after giving away only 18 runs. He was also named the Man of the match in the end.Imad Wasim and Hassan Ali also assisted him and they bagged a pair each.
Pakistan carried their rhythm in the batting side and the openers alone managed to pocket most of the runs. Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif bagged fifties as Pakistan recorded their biggest ever victory in terms of wickets. They triumphed by nine wickets and 31 balls in hand.
After the match, the English skipper was shocked that they lost in this way to the side whom they posted 444 runs. However, he admitted the visitors played better in the match and expressed that he should have fielded first after winning the toss.
He was quoted in a post-match press conference, “We needed about 185 on that wicket. It’s hard to believe it’s the same team that scored 444 a few games ago. But it’s my fault with the toss. Our guys thrive on T20 cricket… chill out in the lead-up, can’t use After-Lord’s-Major’s-Show as an excuse. Pakistan outplayed us in the conditions. But I still like to think we are on an upward curve. Things are really bright at the moment, a huge amount of ability and fearlessness.”
The beaming first-time captain Sarfraz praised his played and stressed his side executed the plan they derived. He commented to media after winning the shortest format match, “Yesterday we decided the plan was short balls and slower balls, and we executed our plans very well. We had to play positive cricket, we won the last game and morale is very high.”