England v Pakistan: Jos Buttler & Dom Bess star as England level series



England surged to victory over Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs to win the second Test and draw the series 1-1.

Jos Buttler displayed his full range of strokeplay in a sparkling 80 not out to take England to 363 – a 189-run lead.

And after Pakistan were reduced to 42-3, it never seemed likely that the game would reach day four at Headingley.

Off-spinner Dom Bess claimed his maiden Test wicket in returning 3-33, while Stuart Broad took 3-28 as Pakistan were 134 all out in their second innings.

It was a limp capitulation by the tourists, who failed to get anywhere near the performance of their nine-wicket win at Lord’s.

For England, this was an ideal response to an awful display in London and ends a run of eight Tests without a win.

Their challenge now is to replicate this when they meet India over a five-Test series that begins in August.

Before then, they enter a period of limited-overs cricket against India and Australia after playing a one-day international against Scotland in Edinburgh on 10 June.

England bounce back

Last week’s defeat at Lord’s was not only the first time England have lost the opening Test of a home summer since 1995, but one of their worst home performances in recent memory.

They took severe criticism, but bounced back by displaying all the qualities they were lacking in London.

Joe Root’s men bowled a fuller length, caught well and collectively showed more application with the bat.

England took advantage of a swinging ball to dismiss Pakistan for 174 on day one and controlled the game from then on. Overall, this was a performance full of energy, determination and old-fashioned Test values.

And so, the question is: which is the real England? The one so poor last week, or so impressive in Leeds?

Skipper Root has insisted that their recent results have been indicative of a team underperforming, rather than one that is not good enough.

Only if England can play like this on a regular basis will he be proved right.

Buttler blitz lights up Headingley

Buttler was surprisingly recalled for the first Test by new national selector Ed Smith, chosen on the back of five successive half-centuries in the Indian Premier League.

His 67 in the second innings at Lord’s was regular Test batting, but the second part of his innings in Leeds was the sort of devastating hitting that has made him so dangerous in limited-overs cricket.

After England resumed on 302-7, Sam Curran was caught at second slip off Mohammad Abbas for 20 to leave Buttler with only Broad and James Anderson for company.

On Saturday evening, Buttler took 21 runs from the first 23 balls he faced, then calmed to score 45 off 90. From his final 11 deliveries, he belted 35.

The Lancashire man lofted straight, fetched to the leg side and guided through the covers. He hooked Abbas for six to reach 50, with the highlight of the thrilling entertainment a glorious straight maximum off Faheem Ashraf that landed on the rugby ground.

He was only denied the chance of a maiden Test century by the dismissals of Broad and Anderson in the space of eight balls – Broad hooking, Anderson edging to first slip.

Pakistan lurch from awesome to awful

Just like England were transformed from Lord’s, so too were Pakistan, only in reverse. Although they probed at times with the ball on Saturday, their fielding was scruffy and their batting reckless.

They seemed unwilling to chip away at the first-innings deficit, their cavalier attitude typified by opener Azhar Ali, who swiped across the line to be bowled by Anderson.

Haris Sohail pushed at Anderson to be sensationally caught, one-handed, by Bess at mid-off and, after Asad Shafiq feathered Broad down the leg side, the three-day finish was all but assured by lunch.

Still, England were held up by Imam-ul-Haq and Usman Salahuddin before Bess intervened.

He trapped Imam lbw on 34 for his first Test wicket and removed the final obstacle of Salahuddin, who slapped to mid-on for 33.

In between, Curran and Chris Woakes picked up a wicket apiece and Faheem top-edged Bess to point, leaving Broad to mop up the tail.

‘England can’t start slowly against India’ – what they said

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “England will probably say they didn’t do anything differently here but everything about the England team looked like they were on it this week. They batted with determination and concentration. They had the right fielders in the right positions.

“It’s always easier when your team is on top so I ask the team now for more consistency.

“We can’t see England start slowly against India, get criticism and then bounce back. It happened last year against South Africa.

“We expect more consistency and I don’t think we’re wrong for asking for that. When you see this performance compared to Lord’s and the only difference is they’ve had a rocket and a couple of things said about them they don’t like, the body language is different and I want to see that every match.”




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