© Getty Images
© Getty Images

England crashed to a humongous defeat on the final day of the third Test against Pakistan at Sharjah on Thursday as the hosts completed a 2-0 series win to continue their undefeated streak in Tests in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Resuming from their overnight score of 46 for 2 during their chase of the 284-run target, England could barely handle the turn that the Pakistani spinners were getting on the fifth day’s pitch, losing wickets right from the word go. Only Alastair Cook put up a fight whatsoever, scoring an immaculate 63 off 164 balls to end as the series’ highest run-getter as England were ultimately bowled out for a paltry 156. Yasir Shah and Shoaib Malik were the pick among the bowlers, taking 4 for 44 and 3 for 26 respectively, with the spinners taking nine out of the 10 wickets. SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England 2015, 3rd Test at Sharjah

Joe Root, who scored two valuable half-centuries in the previous game, disappointed with the bat for the second time in the Test, getting trapped leg-before wicket off the bowling of Yasir. James Taylor failed to repeat his heroics from the first innings, edged a Zulfiqar delivery that was pitched along the middle-stump and turned square, getting an edge along the right-handed batsman’s bat for Younis Khan to complete the catch at slip. Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel decided to compete against each other in their race back to the pavilion as both were dismissed leg-before by Yasir and Zulfiqar respectively for ducks. UPDATES: Pakistan vs England 2015, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 5

Amidst the destruction, Cook was batting eloquently at the other end, standing firm like the rock that he is known to be in such situations. He fended off most of the turning, attacking deliveries and managed to despatch the loose deliveries for boundaries with free will. Adil Rashid gave valuable support at the other end during the seventh-wicket partnership, getting a boundary as the duo added 49 runs for the seventh wicket, taking England past the 100-run mark to save some grace. Rashid was finally done in after Misbah decided to bring Rahat Ali in for a brief spell, who castled Rashid with an inswinging delivery that went right through the batsman’s defense.

Cook continued to receive support from the other end, with Stuart Broad taking over the fight from Rashid, as England went into lunch at 120 for 7. Broad managed to display fine batting skills, even if momentarily, as he moved to the 20s before becoming Yasir’s third wicket of the innings by serving Malik an easy catch at square-leg. Ben Stokes, who had sustained a serious injury to his right shoulder on the opening day of the game, hit a brave run-a-ball 12 that included a boundary. Cook’s innings ultimately came to an end with a score of 63, after Malik foxed him with a slightly short-pitched delivery, devoid of flight, that caught the English skipper by surprise and got him stumped. Stokes was dismissed in a similar manner, albeit by Yasir, as the England folded up at 156.

It was a brilliant show from the Pakistani spinners, who delivered when they were expected to do so on a Day Five track that would have been their dream hunting ground on the final day. Both Yasir, who was awarded the Man of the Series, and Zulfiqar, who had wreaked havoc on the Australians last year in the same venues, turned out to be skipper Misbah-ul-Haq primary weapons against a team that is not known flourish on turning tracks.

The match began with Pakistan continuing their unbeaten run in tosses in this series — which was Misbah’s sixth consecutive toss win, as Pakistan decided to bat first. The hosts decided to bring in Azhar Ali and Rahat in place of Shan Masood and the injured Imran Khan, while England got Taylor and Samit in place of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood. It turned out to be a perfect farewell gift by Pakistan for Malik — who had announced his Test retirement at the end of the third day, as Pakistan moved to the second position in the ICC Test ranking. Mohammad Hafeez was the highlight of the Pakistani second innings with a brilliant 151, which was instrumental in guiding Pakistan reaching 355 aside from getting him the Man of the Match award.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 234 (Shoaib Malik 38, Younis Khan 31, Misbah-ul-Haq 71, Sarfraz Ahmed 39; James Anderson 4 for 17, Stuart Broad 2 for 13) and 355 (Mohammad Hafeez 151, Azhar Ali 34, Misbah-ul-Haq 38, Asad Shafiq 46, Sarfraz Ahmed 36; Stuart Broad 3 for 44, James Anderson 2 for 52) beat England 306 (Alastair Cook 49, Ian Bell 40, James Taylor 76, Jonny Bairstow 43, Samit Patel 42; Shoaib Malik 4 for 33, Yasir Shah 3 for 99) and 156 (Moeen Ali 22, Alastair Cook 63; Yasir Shah 4 for 44, Shoaib Malik 3 for 26, Zulfiqar Babar 2 for 31) by 127 runs

Man of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez.

Man of the Series: Yasir Shah.

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(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)