by Rex Clementine

England had done everything right in the first Test against Pakistan from scoring at fanatic pace to setting attacking fields on a wicket that offered little assistance for bowlers and deserved victory which they achieved under fading light to go 1-0 up in the three match series. Having set Pakistan a stiff target of 343, England secured a 74 run win as Ollie Robinson and James Anderson shared eight wickets between them.

England had posted 657 runs in the first innings and although Pakistan responded by scoring 579 all out, a result was still possible as England had maintained a healthy run rate. They had scored at 6.5 runs an over in the first innings and were even better in the second innings going at 7.36. Ben Stokes declaration at 264 for seven was a sporting one and kept the game open without letting it to drift away for a high scoring draw.

It was a good fightback from Pakistan and heading into the final session of the game all four results were possible. Pakistan required 86 runs to win while England needed five wickets while in all previous days bad light had ended play early and a draw too was on the cards. Given the extraordinary things this game had witnessed you couldn't rule out a tie either. In the game's near 150 year history, there had been only two tied games.

Azhar Ali was batting with an injured finger and as long as he was there, Pakistan had their hopes. The former captain is an experienced campaigner and had dug his side out of trouble on numerous occasions. But England had been too good to be denied a victory and they had their man when Robinson executed the plan nicely. Azhar flicked one off the hip but a man had been stationed at leg-slip for this exact moment and Joe Root gobbled up the chance to start off celebrations as this was a huge moment in the game.

The last pair of Naseem Shah and Mohammad Ali weren't going down without a fight and they had resisted some fine bowling for more than half an hour. There was just ten minutes left for the scheduled close of play when Jack Leach got a leg before wicket decision in his favour. Naseem Shah reviewed it and England players waited agonizingly before ball tracking confirmed that the ball was hitting leg-stump.

England celebrated a hard fought win and now need to regroup before the next Test on Friday. This has been a remarkable effort by them on their return to Pakistan and the game itself was under threat after several player caught a stomach bug.