England pulled off one of their greatest victories with a 74-run win over Pakistan in the first Test in Rawalpindi.
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.
That England were in a position to win was thanks to James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who gave a masterful exhibition of reverse-swing bowling to claim four wickets each.
Pakistan were defiant throughout. Saud Shakeel made 76, Mohammad Rizwan 46 and Azhar Ali 40. At 176-3 and 259-5, the home side were right in the hunt.
But after Robinson removed Salman Agha and Azhar, England could only be defeated by the fading light.
With the stadium nearly full and the crowd engrossed, 40-year-old Anderson snared Zahid Mahmood and Haris Rauf in the same over.
Naseem and Mohammad Ali survived for nine overs, before Leach sent England into wild celebrations.
There is only a three-day gap to the second Test in Multan on Friday, when England will have the chance to secure the series.
Brilliant England secure win for the ages
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.
The drama of victory being secured late on the fifth day was entirely in keeping with the extraordinary action of the previous four days.
England plundered 921 runs in 136.5 overs at a scoring rate of 6.73, the fastest of any team batting twice in Test history. The 506-4 runs they racked up on day one is a Test record.
Ben Stokes’ bold declaration at tea on Sunday engineered a contest that had all four results possible going into the final session of the match.
With darkness creeping in, England looked to have missed their chance when Naseem’s edge off Stokes sailed between wicketkeeper Ollie Pope and first slip Joe Root, only for Leach to provide the decisive intervention.
It ended a run of 11 away Tests without victory and secured a first win over Pakistan outside the UK for 22 years with an entire XI that had never played a Test here before.
All this after the England squad was badly affected on the eve of the match by a virus that raised the prospect of the Test being delayed by a day.
They had a stand-in wicketkeeper in Pope and an attack relying heavily on three part-time spinners, from which Liam Livingstone did not bowl because of a knee injury and will return home.
Above all, this is the finest win of England’s new era under Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, giving full vindication to their ultra-aggressive style of play that is turning Test convention on its head.
Pacemen carry England to stunning victory
This was a compelling, arm-wrestle of a day, with England only taking definitive control in the dying embers.
From 80-2 overnight, Pakistan were shackled by England’s seamers in the early morning. Imam-ul-Haq was caught down the leg side to depart for 48, Rizwan needed 24 balls to get off the mark.
When England turned to spin, the hosts countered, leaving Leach, Will Jacks and Root with no answer. Their combined 16 morning overs cost 72 runs, compared with 14 conceded from 16 overs of pace.
Debutant Shakeel and Rizwan added 87 for the fourth wicket, only for Rizwan to poke Anderson behind and Shakeel to be well caught by diving substitute Keaton Jennings at short cover off Robinson.
Azhar, returning after retiring hurt with an injured finger on Sunday, and Salman built again in the face of an examination from England’s tireless pacers.
In the one over of spin England bowled in the afternoon session, Leach thought he had the sweeping Salman lbw, only for replays to show the ball going over. In the next over, the diving Pope could not hold Azhar’s leg-side tickle off Robinson.
England’s pressure finally told after tea. Ignoring the availability of the second new ball, Robinson had Salman lbw on review with one that came back then, crucially, Azhar guided to Root at leg slip.
With the tail exposed, England’s main opponent was the setting sun. Pope acrobatically grabbed Mahmood down the leg side off Anderson and, two balls later, Haris was trapped in front.
Naseem and Ali clung on, wasting as much time as they could. Anderson and Robinson were withdrawn, Naseem was missed, Stokes took the new ball and Leach was summoned.
Naseem was pinned in front, a review could not save him and an iconic England win was sealed.