Pakistan win to level Test Series against England
England and Pakistan tied the Investec Test Series after the hosts slumped to a fourth day defeat at the Kia Oval.
Resuming on 88 for four – still 126 adrift - England needed a miracle and, despite Jonny Bairstow’s battling 81, it was not forthcoming.
The Sunday crowd cheered as England moved into a slender lead but Pakistan, for whom the mesmerising Yasir Shah took 5-71, were untroubled in chasing 40 to win.
England’s hopes were pinned on the last of their recognised batsmen and, despite the loss of Gary Ballance, the fluent Bairstow and Moeen Ali gave the sun-baked Oval crowd hope.
Bairstow, in particular, was in wonderful touch, regularly piercing the field with well-timed cover drives.
He found valuable support in first innings centurion Ali who played Yasir Shah confidently. Having used the back of his bat to reserve sweep the leg-spinner for four, the Worcestershire man then danced down the track to launch the same bowler towards the dressing rooms for six.
Shah would have his revenge, however. With both lunch and Pakistan’s total in sight, Ali got a sizeable edge on a fast leg break which Sarfraz did brilliantly well to cling on to.
Bairstow and Chris Woakes took England within one strike of a lead but a double setback in a Wahab Riaz over saw them both dismissed.
Woakes went first, brilliantly run out by Riaz who swooped, picked up and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Bairstow perished next ball, driving to the tumbling Azhar Ali in the covers.
Stuart Broad did not last long, caught reverse sweeping Shah to hand the leg spinner his fifth wicket of the innings.
Steven Finn and James Anderson enjoyed themselves in the London sunshine during their entertaining stand of 32 but by then the result was never in doubt.