Right through this Test match, Misbah-ul-Haq has largely remained cooped up in the dressing room, incognito behind his laptop screen as Azhar Ali called all the shots in the middle. But come the fourth afternoon in Manchester, Misbah couldn’t afford to do that. He was out in the daylight, much like Younis Khan right through this Test match, trying to get a message across to the Pakistan captain.
All that because his side, hitherto favourites to win, were losing the plot against Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes’s counterattack. And that’s what would bring them down in Manchester, this entertaining, defining, sometimes mind-boggling sixth-wicket partnership of 139 coming at 4.2 runs per over, spurring on a memorable come-from-behind victory by three wickets for England.
The defining partnership was in fact much quicker than what the scorecard suggests. When Buttler walked out with England at 117/5 and staring down the barrel in a 277-run chase, he wasted no time on a pitch playing enough tricks. Ten balls and a couple of cover drives into his innings, he was already reverse-sweeping Yasir Shah out of the rough. It was commendable how that particular shot, played right after Ollie Pope had gloved behind an unplayable delivery from Shaheen Afridi, would become the lasting image of his innings.