England lost half their side within half an hour after the start of play on day five in Sharjah. And it took another half an hour after lunch for Pakistan to hammer the final nail in the English coffin and wrap up the Test series 2-0.
The injured Ben Stokes came down the pitch. Yasir Shah saw him and adjusted his line accordingly, spinning the ball away from the batsman. It gave wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed ample time to first dislodge the bails and then pull the stumps out in jubilation. England were all out on 156. Pakistan won the Test match by 127 runs.
Pakistan team of 90s always relied on individual performances helping the team win both home and away. But ever since Misbah has taken over as captain, the Test team has shaped into a group of players working in partnerships. Last time when England came to UAE, they suffered a 3-0 whitewash courtesy the spin bowling pair of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. The duo shared 43 wickets between them with Ajmal taking 24 and Rehman 19.
This time around, it was a trio of spinners, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar and Shoaib Malik who played a vital role in dismantling the English side. Despite missing the first match, Yasir led from the front and ended up as the highest wicket of the series with 15 wickets. Meanwhile Malik took 11 and Babar 9 wickets.
The pace bowlers did a fair amount of work for their respective sides. But the edge that Pakistan had was that they had quality spinners, which England lacked. This was evident from the approach of Pakistani batsmen: they defended against the pacers and scored heavily against the spinners.
On the batting front, five batsmen from the Pakistan side scored centuries, while England could only score a single one; that too from captain Alastair Cook in the first innings of the first Test.
Overall it was a well fought series. The Englishmen at times were really close to registering their first Test win at UAE. But the green shirts made sure that UAE remains their own fortress, an unconquered territory for any visiting side. This win not only gave Pakistan a convincing 2-0 victory, but also lifted them to number two in the ICC Test rankings.