|Third Test, Karachi (day four of five)|
|Pakistan 304 (Babar 78) & 216 (Ahmed 5-48)|
|England 354 (Brook 111, Foakes 64) & 170-2 (Duckett 82*)|
|England won by eight wickets|
England completed a historic 3-0 clean sweep over Pakistan inside 40 minutes on the fourth day of the final Test in Karachi.
Needing 55 more runs, England took only 11.1 overs to reach their target of 167.
Ben Duckett ended 82 not out, while Ben Stokes was unbeaten on 35, the two left-handers sharing an unbroken partnership of 73.
England, on their first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years, become the first visiting team to win three matches in a series in this country.
It also caps a year in which England have undergone a remarkable transformation under captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum – this is their ninth win in 10 matches since the pair took charge.
Attention will now turn to next summer, when England will attempt to regain the Ashes from Australia.
Stokes’ side play two Tests against New Zealand in February, then complete their Ashes preparations with a one-off match against Ireland in June. The white-ball team has limited-overs tours of South Africa and Bangladesh in the early part of next year.
Stokes’ history boys
Before this tour, England had managed only two Test wins away to Pakistan in 30 attempts across 61 years. They have now won three in three weeks.
Not only that, they have secured their first series win over Pakistan outside of the UK for 22 years and ended a run of three successive away series defeats stretching back to the beginning of 2021.
This is also only the fourth time England have taken a clean sweep in an away series of three Tests or more.
What makes the achievement all the more remarkable – this is one of England’s greatest ever away wins – is the turmoil they were in at the beginning of the year.
When England were hammered in Hobart at the end of an Ashes humbling, then beaten in Grenada to tumble to a series defeat by West Indies, the idea they would win six of seven home Tests then win 3-0 in Pakistan was beyond fanciful.
Yet, under the inspirational leadership of Stokes and McCullum, England are becoming one of the most feared Test sides in the world.
Their form has come too late to reach next year’s World Test Championship final, but the clash with Australia is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Ashes series for some time.
Sweep sealed on landmark tour
This series will live long in the memory, not only for England’s landmark return to Pakistan or the surprise scoreline, but for the thrilling cricket played.
England’s victory on a flat pitch in Rawalpindi, when they piled up 506-4 on day one then bowled Pakistan out in the final moments of the fifth day, was one of their all-time great wins. It was almost matched for drama by the 26-run win in the second Test in Multan.
This third Test was a new challenge – England lost the toss on a pitch more suited to spin bowling, circumstances that have often been their undoing in the past.
Still, they pulled off their most emphatic win in a match notable for the emergence of 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, the youngest man to play Test for Englandwho took 5-48 in Pakistan’s second innings.
Prior to that, England were put in a strong position by Harry Brook’s third century of the series – the 23-year-old has given the selectors a tough decision to make when Jonny Bairstow returns from a broken leg.
Across the tour, Ollie Robinson has confirmed his status as one of the world’s premier seam bowlers – this is the first Test England have won without either of James Anderson or Stuart Broad since June 2007, 15 years and 197 matches ago.
It was also a successful return to Test cricket for opener Duckett, recalled after six years out of the side.
Whereas Duckett led England’s frantic charge to complete the chase in fading light on Monday evening, Tuesday morning was more measured, even if his sweeping still had the scoring rate at above five runs an over.
Stokes, tied with McCullum on 107 sixes – the most in Test cricket – tried all he could to break the record of the England coach.
It was Duckett who hit the winning runs, meaning Stokes’ next opportunity for the record-breaking maximum will come in New Zealand – the country of his birth and McCullum’s homeland.
‘England are changing cricket’ – reaction
England captain Ben Stokes: “It has been perfect. We have a process of how to play but the challenge for us this series has been the surfaces. But we stuck to our gameplan and adapted really well, be it with bat or ball.
“It all comes down to belief. The belief I have in taking the guys out in the field with me.”
England opener Ben Duckett, speaking to Sky Sports: “It was fitting that Ben Stokes was there. I know he wanted to hit a six to win and go past Baz [McCullum]. He wanted it bad.”
Former England spinner Alex Hartley on Test Match Special: “Other teams will have to take this on – be more aggressive and ruthless. Stokes and McCullum have shown it works.
“This England team are changing cricket. They’re playing every ball and hitting it into the gaps.”