AkasnhLAST UPDATED: Aug. 9, 2020, 2:19 p.m.
Manchester: Not since 2018 have England managed to win the opening encounter of a Test series.
This period spans a total of 7 Test series starting from the 2018 series against India at home.
England have now broken this streak in dramatic fashion by beating Pakistan by three wickets in the opening match of the ongoing three-match series.
This is the first time over the last couple of years that England have won the opening match of a series consisting of more than 1 Test.
After losing momentum over the first three days of the Test match, England made a strong comeback on Day 4. They bowled out Pakistan for a paltry 169 runs before overhauling a challenging target on a fourth-day pitch with a superb batting effort.
Needing 277 runs to win, England rode on gritty half-centuries by Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler to romp home to victory. Woakes remained unbeaten on 84 while Buttler scored 75 before being dismissed by Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah. The duo put together a lower-order partnership of 139 runs which proved to the turning point of the match.
England had started their second innings in a rather turbulent fashin. Before Woakes and Buttler came together to script an England win, it seemed to be all but over for the hosts.
When England came out to bat in the final innings of the match, the Pakistani pacers turned on the heat with the new ball as the English batsmen struggled to stay at the crease.
Pakistani pacer Mohammad Abbas scalped the wicket of English opener Rory Burns after the hosts had put together a rather painstaking opening stand of 22 runs. Dominic Sibley then joined England captain Joe Root for a partnership of 64 runs.
England lost their second wicket when Yasir Shah hunted down Dominic by making him attempt a cover drive. The ball took the outside edge and Shafiq pulled off an excellent reflex effort at slip.
England lost their next three wickets over a span of 31 runs as Pakistan wrested the upper hand.
With England reduced to 117-5, Buttler and Woakes came together to lead the England fightback.
When Buttler was finally trapped leg before by Shah with the total at 256/6, England were within sight of a comfortable victory. Woakes remained unbeaten till the end to help England register a 3-wicket win.
Chris Woakes was adjudged as the player of the match for his four scalps in the entire match and batting heroics in the second innings. This was also the first instance since 2010 that England won the first Test of a series against Pakistan on their home soil.
However, Pakistan gave a good account of themselves as they dominated most of the first Test. Shan Masood's majestic century in the first innings and Yasir Shah's match haul of 8 wickets are some of the high points for Pakistan. Yasir Shah returned figures of 4-66 in the first innings and 4-99 in the second.
The second Test will start on August 13 at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.