Woakes and Buttler's innings not far behind Ben Stokes' Headingley knock: Azhar Ali

Woakes remained unbeaten on 84 while Buttler scored 75 to take the game away from Pakistan during the fourth day.

Azhar Ali, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler
Azhar Ali, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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The first Test between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford came down to a thrilling end. It initially looked like the visitors had a chance to clinch the encounter but England turned the tide and emerged victorious after hunting down Pakistan’s target of 277 runs with 3 wickets to spare.

England was in danger to lose the match after losing five wickets for just 117. However, a sixth-wicket stand of 139 between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler steered England to the triumph. Woakes remained unbeaten on 84 while Buttler scored 75 to take the game away from Pakistan during the fourth day.

England completed their 6th highest successful run chase on home soil and the 10th highest overall in their Test history. After suffering the defeat, Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali hailed knocks played by Woakes and Buttler which eventually guided England to the victory. Ali compared Woakes and Buttler’s knocks to that with the one played by Ben Stokes in the Headingley Test against Australia in the Ashes series last year.

Surprised there wasn’t reverse swing: Azhar Ali

“It’s been a wonderful Test, disappointing to be on the wrong side of it, but they took the game on and the pitch started to do nothing. They (Woakes and Buttler) changed the momentum and we couldn’t reply what they threw at us. I would give credit to their partnership, tough to keep the field up and the boundaries dry.

One of the best innings of recent past was Stokes v Australia and this one is not far behind because conditions were tough,” Azhar said at the post-match presentation as quoted by India Today.

“For both sides, a packed house would have been more to enjoy, but watching at home on TV they will have been entertained, and we’re happy to be a part of it. Surprised there wasn’t reverse swing, but there was enough there, when we had five wickets we were happy with our discipline, but the partnership changed everything.

We had our opportunities to bat England out of the game, We lost run-outs which are a crime in Test matches, but this total should have been enough,” Azhar added.

After England’s slump in the Test, Woakes and Buttler had a daunting task of chasing 277 runs. The 139-run partnership between the two made the difference as they turned the tide on Day 4. In a final twist, Buttler was eventually out lbw for 75 to leg spinner Yasir Shah with England requiring another 21 for victory. But Woakes stuck to the crease in the end and ensured England’s conquest.