live cricket score, live score, live score cricket, pakistan vs england live, pakistan vs england live score, pak vs eng live score, pak vs eng 4th test live, pakistan vs england 4th test live, pakistan cricket live score, cricket score, cricket, pakistan vs england live scorecard, pak vs eng live scorecard
Misbah-ul-Haq’s side managed to the draw the Test series, 2-2, against England © Getty Images

The bus meandered along the dusty roads. By the time the man made it to back home, his children had fallen asleep. He tossed his bag on to a well-made bed. He switched on the television, perhaps to catch the news or his favourite soap. It was just another day in the life of the common man of Lahore. He may well have been from Karachi or Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata or Colombo or Dhaka. It would not have mattered. He was a forty-something, tied down with responsibilities, unable to distinguish one day from another. Full Cricket Scorecard, England vs Pakistan , 4th Test match

In other words, though he matched the profile exactly, he was not Misbah-ul-Haq. It was not his fault, for nobody is a Misbah-ul-Haq. And it is not because he has led Pakistan to a drawn series, something New Zealand had done last year but both Australia and India have failed to achieve. READ: Open letter from a Pakistan cricket fan

Misbah will never rule Pakistan with the ruthless steely resolve of Abdul Hafeez Kardar. He lacks the charisma of Imran Khan. He will not carry that invisible machete out there the way Javed Miandad did. Fans across genders and across the world will not drool over him the way they did over Wasim Akram.

No, Misbah is none of them. Misbah is Misbah. He was cursed and ridiculed in Pakistan for that astonishing effort in the inaugural World T20 final. An entire country was confused when he was named captain of the side.

They criticise, often laugh at, even today, for his slow approach to batting, for Misbah is as unsexy as they made them. He smiles almost hopelessly back at bowlers, takes his time to build up an innings, but he almost always ends up doing that.

Misbah’s hundred had set the tone for the series, they said. Yasir Shah had feasted on what was left of England at Lord’s. But the tone of the series was far from set, for England trounced them at Old Trafford, and pulled off a determined victory at Edgbaston.

The scales had shifted.

The push-ups were gone. The commentators had applauded the push-ups, as had the thousands present at Lord’s or the billions in front of the television sets. Some laughed. Some cheered. Some even cried in ecstasy.

But more importantly, they believed that the task in front was not uphill. Or maybe it was, but the journey was not as difficult.

Pakistan looked clueless at Old Trafford. They blew it at Edgbaston. It was time for Misbah to take charge again, for time, history, fans seldom remember anyone but the winners.

Pakistan could not win the series from there, but they could come from behind to level it. If they could pull that off, they would retain the unnamed rubber between the two countries that exists only as a concept.

In fact, they would be the only Test playing nation to hold a rubber against England. They dreamed, as did the fans along with them.

But dreams do not win Tests. They knew they had a mountain to climb. They needed to ward off the ghosts of Edgbaston. To make things worse, England had first use of a flat pitch.

But there was a reason the Pakistan fast bowling attack has been the most consistently dangerous over years. Despite a late resurgence from Moeen Ali, England were bowled out inside Day One for a middling 328.

Yasir had been lying in the wilderness since his heroism at Lord’s. Now he suddenly sprang into prominence with a 26 that was about a dozen more than what Misbah would have asked of him. Azhar Ali produced another fine innings after Edgbaston. Asad Shafiq justified his promotion in batting order over the giants.

But this was England. There was a reason they were so difficult to beat at home. Misbah fell cheaply, while Iftikhar Ahmed probably had a brain-freeze.

The onus fell on Sarfraz Ahmed, busy, dynamic, belligerent Sarfraz Ahmed, the man with the gift to change Tests on their heads. He could have gone for the kill. On most days he would have.

Had there been no Younis Khan at the other end, that is: you do not need to do anything fancy with the master at the other end. Younis, the man with most Test runs, hundreds, and goodness-knows-what in the history of Pakistan, was ready for the challenge this one final time in England.

Not only did Younis scored a double hundred, but he also got it at a strike rate of 71. A determined Sarfraz was followed by perhaps a more determined Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan were left with only their bowlers and Younis. Pakistani bowlers throw wickets away. Even their batsmen throw wickets away. Pakistanis implode.

But this was a different Pakistan. Misbah had failed to score, but he succeeded to convert every tail-ender into a mini-Misbah, perfectly aware of their specific roles.

The lead was 106 when Wahab fell. It could have been another Edgbaston. It would almost certainly have been another Edgbaston, had there been no Younis, and Misbah himself, in the guise of Mohammad Aamer, grim yet keen, desperate yet patient.

This was Misbah in his left-handed avatar, sans orange boots.

They added 97. Younis got 218, a mere 6 less than Pakistan’s lead.

Indeed, the teams were separated by a single innings, but what a performance it was! Younis was laughed at for his strange jumping-around technique throughout the first three Tests.

He admitted that he had received a phone-call from Mohammad Azharuddin. He had modified his technique accordingly.

And he went on to score the small matted of 218. And he scored them at such alarming pace that he had as good as batted England out of the Test.

The Test had almost been won. But then, Pakistan, all of it, hate that word: almost, for you do not celebrate defeats.

There was a Test to be won. And for that you needed wickets. You needed the big one out of the way. And Alastair Cook poked at one just outside off from Wahab, edging to Iftikhar, promoted to first slip on Test debut.

Wahab had earlier helped Younis put on 37. He had come second in the encounter against Shane Watson in World Cup 2015. He was not going to come second again.

England had singled out Yasir for special treatment at Old Trafford. Yasir had steadied things somewhat at Edgbaston, but had nothing to show against his name in the wickets column.

He desperately needed that now, to regain his stature as the world’s premium spinner. So he whisked out Alex Hales, James Vince, and the big fish — Joe Root. England returned to the pavilion at 88 for 4.

Pakistan could not lose from there. Surely they could not. But hang on, were England not 110 for 5 in the first innings before the last five added 218? What if the 6 wickets add 300 this time?

A target of 175… well, stranger things have happened… no, they needed the wickets.

Jonny Bairstow batted brilliantly the way he had done all summer. Gary Ballance offered resistance. With a hundred and 2 wickets under his belt, a confident Moeen marched along. 193 for 5. England trailed by a mere 21. Nerves…

It was time for Sarfraz to chip in. It was wide of him, it bounced off his big gloves, but he caught it on the rebound to send Moeen back.

Another 16 runs happened. England were clawing back, inch by inch, Bairstow refusing to budge an inch, the in-form Chris Woakes giving him company.

Someone had to put a stop to this. If not Yasir then Aamer, if not Aamer then five-wicket hero Sohail Khan, if not Sohail then…

Wahab bowled one short of length. Bairstow managed to keep it out comfortably. The initial movement was for a single. He even called for that run — before turning down the run. Wahab, managing to grab it somehow, still kneeling, threw the stumps down at the non-striker’s end.

Sohail fell short. He took out Bairstow the next ball, delivering the knockout punch.

“Jitega bhai jitega, Pakistan jitega” they chanted at the ground that had hosted the first Test on English soil.

Two hours later Azhar Ali lofted Moeen over long-on into the stands to seal things. And they chanted as Misbah accepted the Pakistan Man of the Series Award and, horror, horror, was interviewed.

And the shy smile of Misbah 1.0, the one that he hides so efficiently behind those steely jaws, finally surfaced.

Remember the man with whom this piece had started? He smiled too, perhaps punching the air in ecstasy, perhaps just a coy curl of lips to match his captain’s. And then he celebrated like there was no tomorrow, for it was Independence Day in Pakistan, and he was one of many Misbahs across the country.

Imran ruled over Pakistan. Miandad used to take up the bayonet for Pakistan. Misbah became Pakistan.

For last night, the world of cricket was Pakistan’s to take. Maybe Australia and India will pull off some sort of evil combination to deprive them of the World No. 1 slot. But when you are No. 2, there is always hope.

And in Pakistan, that hope has a name, a face: that of Misbah-ul-Haq.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry and CricLife. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)