England have achieved “something really special” by winning the Test series in Pakistan, according to captain Ben Stokes.
England followed up their last-gasp victory in Rawalpindi by bowling out Pakistan for 328 in their second innings in Multan on Monday to complete a 26-run victory.
That gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and means England have doubled their all-time tally of Test wins in Pakistan in the space of two weeks.
Stokes told Sky Sports: “Obviously things happened quite quickly this week compared to last week but it was another fantastic game to be a part of, going down to the wire yet again.
“It was a tricky wicket, especially with the slower bowling. We were quite fortunate, especially from the top end, with the cracks that started to open up.
“Our seamers became very effective. Jimmy (Anderson), Robbo (Ollie Robinson) and Woody (Mark Wood) put in an amazing performance for England this week.
“Hats off to the lads. There’s some seriously tired bodies up there. Everyone’s flown into this and we’ve achieved something really special this week.”
“I’m shattered,” said the Durham quick. “It was hard fought but that’s when it’s worth it in the end. Two games where the lads put so much in and, to get over the line, an amazing feeling really.
“I’m just absolutely knackered. To keep charging in, charging in was a big effort but we knew we were close and that’s what really spurs you on. To see the other lads digging in, you don’t want to let your mates down so you put in just as much.
“Stokesy said, ‘Make a difference, change the game’, so that’s what I tried to do. Those wickets were key. Nawaz, I thought the way he played was brilliant actually. That partnership was key to try and break.”
Pakistan will feel they could be ahead in the series, and Abrar Ahmed’s spectacular debut with 11 wickets and a late batting cameo was a real high spot for them.
“They’ve got some skilful players and we respect them a lot,” said Wood. “This isn’t a case of we’ve come here thinking we’re the better team. We knew we had to dig in deep. It’s a monumental effort from everybody to finally win here – 2-0 is a fantastic result.”
Nasser Hussain, one of only two former England captains ever to win a Test match in Pakistan, was effusive in his praise.
“That is a magnificent victory,” said Hussain, who led England to victory in Karachi in 2000.
“They’ve had to work so, so hard to pull off those victories. Every captain needs a Mark Wood, someone who, when you’re in the last-chance saloon and the match is drifting away from you, you need someone who’s small in stature but big in heart. This is one of the most incredible Test match victories.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam rued his side’s first innings performance, when they were bowled out for 202.
“We were not up to the mark in the first innings,” he said. “We had a couple of soft dismissals. We did not finish well in the first innings and it cost us.
“After that we had a fightback in the bowling and in the second innings we fought well but unfortunately we have not finished well. We’re definitely looking forward to the Karachi Test match and we will do our best.”