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England's players celebrate after winning the Test match against Pakistan, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Image Credit: AP

Rawalpindi: England beat Pakistan by 74 runs in the opening Test in Rawalpindi in fading light on Monday, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

England amassed 657 in their first innings and declared their second on 264-7, setting Pakistan an improbable victory target of 343 on a docile track.

Pakistan fought gamely and put on 268 before being all out in the absorbing final session, with Saud Shakeel topscoring for them with 76.

Final day

With the sun dropping at the end of a tension-filled final day, England took the last wicket with only minutes of light remaining.

In scenes reminiscent of England’s famous victory in the dark in Karachi in 2000, Jack Leach trapped Naseem Shah lbw to leave Pakistan 268 all out, 75 short of their target of 343.

James Anderson (4-36) and Ollie Robinson (4-50) were England’s most successful bowlers, while Jack Leach claimed the winning wicket.

This is an England win that will be remembered for a long time, a fitting way to mark their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years.

Captain Ben Stokes said, “This is up there with England’s greatest away Test wins. We have achieved something very special this week.”

Tough pitch

Robinson who was named Player of the match said, “The pitch was tough for our seamers but we kept going. Every player didn’t leave anything behind and it was a great effort. Coming to Pakistan and playing on these flat wickets. This is probably the best Test win I’ve had so far definitely.”

Former England captain Michael Atherton said, “It has to be one of England’s finest ever Test match wins. I couldn’t think of another England team that would have won the game on this pitch. Even if the result had gone against England today I don’t think you would have had anyone criticise it. It gave us a fantastic last day. The crowd was brilliant and enthralled. What is the point of sport if it isn’t about that?”

The second Test in Multan begins on Friday.