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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
James Wallace

England beat Pakistan by eight wickets: third Test day four – as it happened

England's Ben Duckett, right, plays a shot during the fourth day of third Test against Pakistan in Karachi.
England's Ben Duckett, right, plays a shot during the fourth day of third Test against Pakistan in Karachi. Photograph: Fareed Khan/AP

Reaction from Ben Stokes:

Here is Ali Martin’s report in full:


Stokes' Specials

As the Barmy Army trumpeter in the stands pootled out Ghost Town in tribute to the late Terry Hall, England wrapped up a historic clean sweep in Pakistan that could easily earn them the tag of The Specials.”

Ali Martin’s report is in and the coverage of the Test has ended which means it must be time to say goodbye. It has been a fantastic Test series to OBO, properly memorable. Thank you as ever for getting involved and keeping us all company and making it what it is - a wonderful thing. Tim’s tweet from yesterday is a fitting one to post here:

A final, seasonal word from Brian Withington:

Morning James, many thanks to you and your colleagues and the contributors from far and wide for all the OBO wisdom and entertainment this year.

Have a great Christmas and looking forward to NZ in the New Year.

Cheers, Brian”

Thanks and same to you Brian, same to you - everyone! Merry Christmas from all us OBOers, take care and see you in the new year.

Here is that Ben Stokes interview:

Just a reminder of where this England side were 12 months ago (to the day). Some turnaround eh?

Ben Stokes has just given a fantastic interview to Mike Atherton on Sky and Brendan McCullum has just spoken to the broadcaster too. They are both worth posting in full as they give an insight into the revolution in style and thought of this England side. Both men steadfastly refuse to take any credit for what’s happening too, constantly flipping the praise onto their men.

Ben Stokes, who has helmed this series victory so magnificently, has his say:

Asked to sum it all up he replies simply with one word - “perfect”

Settle in for some tub-thumping words:

“We stuck to our game plans and adapted really well. Particularly with the ball, whoever I threw it to they seemed to deliver. The commitment and mindset has been top drawer. It comes down to belief, the belief that I have and the ten other guys. That resonates around everyone, the confidence everyone has gives me so much confidence in myself too.”

Stokes continues:

“Every player has stood up at some point, we’d be here all day if I went through them all but Harry Brook has been unbelievable for us. He’s set Pakistan on fire, the calmness and belief is high class. And Rehan, 18 years old, the belief he’s got in himself, he’s not the finished article but to affect the game as he has done…”

“We knew what cricket means to Pakistan... we felt like the cricket that was being played was being celebrated. To walk off to a reception at every ground was very special.”


Babar Azam speaks: “We are definitely disappointed as a team, we were not good enough to fight back. There’s been lot of positive things in this series, but also things that we lack.”

Spare a thought for Babar, he’s been excellent with the bat once again but looked short of ideas at times in the series in the face of the Stokes/McCullum juggernaut.

Harry Brook scoops both Player of the Match and Player of the Series. One of the most remarkable things about Brook is how cool he is. Totally unflustered, he’s just had the month of his life and yet he appears so breezy. “It’s probably my best tour so far (only probably Harry!?) to win 3-0 here, no-one’s done it before, phenomenal from the lads. I was annoyed with myself in the second Test when I got out to Abrar. I had to have a look at myself in the mirror.”

Crikey, the lad is hungry for runs. He’s racked up 468 in this three match series in such a classy manner. He’ll be around for a long, long time.


Ben Duckett: “It was fitting Stokes was there at the end, he wanted to hit a six to go past Baz, (Brendan McCullum) he wanted it bad! Me and Zak tried to be positive, his first-ball four set the tone and we got off to a flyer. I’m very happy, I tried to stick to my game, if I was over-critical I left some runs out there. Abrar is a good bowler but we probably gifted him a few wickets in his first innings. The mindset of this team, it’s easy to come into. I’ve never played in a team like this… all the pressure comes off you.”

Illuminating and revealing words on how England’s approach can really free up a player.


The nature and scale of this victory for England begins to sink in:

Broad and Butcher have their say:

Nasser Hussain has just done a quick interview with Ben Duckett, I’ll post some of the quotes shortly.

Just time to fire up your emails before the interviews and presentations.

“Morning James, morning all!

Good morning Em Jackson.

“What will last longer than today’s play? My jug of coffee. (Was this the case?)

Well done England, well done Pakistan – there’ll be days for you but its not today – and it’s made December so far having cricket on when starting work early.

And RIP Terry Hall, my Dad had the Mobil petrol station 80’s tape & Ghost Town was on that, excellent song with deep meaning even today.”

Pakistan have been brilliant and the series has been played in a lovely spirit. It’s been 17 long years since England last played here but, as Mike Atherton say on the tv comms, it has almost been worth the wait for what we have seen over the past few weeks.

Young Rehan Ahmed would scoff at this particular Specials number obviously.


England win by eight wickets!

Stokes tries to finish it in style with a six down the ground but it just falls short and plugs a few feet from the boundary. Duckett now has the chance to hit the winning runs and – HE DOES IT IN STYLE – a crunching slap through the covers for four! England take the game and the series, the two batters embrace. Wow. That is some win. Stick with us for plenty of reaction.

It is a bit, isn’t it?


27th over: England 161-2 (Duckett 76, Stokes 32) Stokes slashes Mohammad Wasim through the covers and the target is now down to single figures. Duckett nudges and nurdles for a couple, he’s been brilliant on this tour, just pipped to player of the series by young Harry Brook I should think.


26th over: England 155-2 (Duckett 75, Stokes 27) Normal service resumes as seven runs are taken off Abrar. It would be nice for Stokes to be there at the end… oh just as I type that Stoke has a wild mow down the ground and is shelled at long-on! Tricky chance, but turfed. This will all be over very soon.


25th over: England 148-2 (Duckett 73, Stokes 22) A lesser spotted maiden! Fair play to Mohammad Wasim who sends down six dots, keeping Duckett honest with a tight line around off stump. On we go!


Don’t rule it out…

24rd over: England 148-2 (Duckett 73, Stokes 22) England are easing towards a historic victory, Stokes and Duckett picking off the runs, less than twenty runs needed now to complete the victory and take the series 3-0. Remarkable when you see it written down like that.

23rd over: England 144-2 (Duckett 70, Stokes 21) Six more runs off Wasim as Duckett drives powerfully down the ground. Stokes is happy to let his junior partner do the damage, he collects a couple and it looks such a simple game.


22nd over: England 138-2 (Duckett 64, Stokes 21) Straight down to brass tacks*… Ben Duckett has come out of the traps incredibly quickly this morning, peeling off two fours against Abrar. The diminutive batter is perhaps not the easiest on the eye but he has been mightily effective. England making short work of this target.

Full marks to Ben Bronx in Surrey: “Wide awake (having stayed up all night) and ready to witness history with a 3-0 sweep of Pakistan. Come on England!”

*Inevitably, after all that, I somehow managed to sleep through my THREE alarms. I’m blaming the teething toddler in the next room who scuppered my best laid plans to get any meaningful kip at all. Happy days but profuse apologies, you had it covered without me for a few overs right?


Preamble - The Trip

Hello and welcome to the final knockings of this Karachi Test and what has been a hugely enjoyable (especially if you are an England player/supporter) Test series.

Last week I overslept got my timings askew in the wee small hours and was twenty minutes late to fire up the OBO, fortunately nothing much was missed. Nevertheless, lesson well and truly learnt, I’m tapping this preamble out pre-pillow rather than post alarm and with good reason – England need the small matter of 55 runs to complete a historic 3-0 series victory and the way they approached the run chase last night - plundering 112 runs in 17 overs - suggests that they could well wrap this up in minutes rather than hours. In short - it isn’t one to press snooze too.

Yesterday was a memorable and poignant day, a case of saying ‘hello’ to Rehan Ahmed, England’s teenage leg-spinning sensation, who at 18 years and 128 days became the youngest men’s Test cricketer to pick up a five-wicket haul on debut. His five for 48 from just shy of fifteen overs tilted the game decisively towards Stokes’s side. Oh, and he even came out for a bat too. Course he did.

At the other end of the cricketing journey, it was time to say ‘goodbye’ to 37 year old Azhar Ali, a fine servant to Pakistani cricket over the past decade, Ali’s last appearance at the crease in Tests yielded zero runs but a guard of honour and a solitary tear. It might not have ended how he hoped but he can look back proudly on a stellar career, over 7,000 runs and 19 centuries will bring some succour.

Will England wrap this up before dawn over here in the UK? Will Pakistan pick up a flurry of wickets to set up a barnstorming finish? Will I even bother to shake off the duvet and feign some degree of professionalism? There’s only one way to find out. But first, to bed. For tonight we sleep the sleep of… err about four hours.

Play gets underway at 5am UK time (gulp)


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