England and Pakistan have set the tone for a series to savour. Outcome aside, it was a fantastic game of Test cricket as England kept their nerves, to come out on the top at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Saturday.
The match had everything a Test match offer. Both teams fought equally well but the Englishman just edged past Pakistan to record a famous victory. The visitors were on top of their performance in the first innings before recording a slump in the batting and even though their bowling continued to look on song - the pair of Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes took away the match from them.
It was the first time since 2008, a side pulled off a successful chase in Test cricket. At a moment, if looked like, we're going to witness a classic English collapse after Ben Stokes was sent back.
Hopes were shattered after the Stokes wicket as it looked like Pakistan are running away with the win. But a 139-run partnership between Buttler and Woakes won the match for the home team. The wicket-keeper batsman was with 21 runs still to win by Yasir Shah, prompting the promotion of Stuart Broad.
Broad too departed with four runs remaining but the lucky Woakes got a thick edge as the ball rushed towards the gap to see the English side burst with joy.
Jos Buttler redemption
Buttler has been under scrutiny for his wicket-keeping effort and has not been consistent with the bat since the West Indies series. Buttler dropped two catches and missed a stumping during Pakistan’s first innings. One of these, turned out to be costly, as Shan Masood - dropped on 46 - went on to notch up 156 run to help Pakistan score 326 runs.
His batting has also been abysmal as he recorded only one half-century before from eight innings. This was in fact, his top score in as many innings. But the knock depicted plenty more than that.
Buttler stepped on the crease at a time when England were reeling and Yasir Shah will help Pakistan run away from the match. But Buttler made all the difference, well supported by Woakes.
Buttler showed immense grip to keep the scoreboard ticking. In fact, the duo launched counter-attack to take the game away from the visitors. The knock ensures the right-handed batsman a life, without scrutiny, in the English Test line-up.