England leg spinner Rehan Ahmed picked five wickets on his test debut to put the team on course for a comfortable victory in the third and final test against Pakistan in Karachi on Monday.
With two days of play remaining, England need 55 runs to win the test and become the first test team to complete a 3-0 whitewash in Pakistan, having won the first two tests in Rawalpindi and Multan.
Ahmed’s spin bowling proved to be the game-changer for Ben Stokes’ team as wickets tumbled in clusters at the National Stadium.
The 18-year-old became the youngest debutant in men’s test history to take a five-for, beating the record held by Australia’s Pat Cummins.
After scoring 304 in the first innings, Pakistan were bowled out for 216 in the second, setting England a target of 167. The visitors struck 354 in their first innings.
Zak Crawley (41) and Ben Duckett (50 not out) made a flying start for England in their chase and the visitors will begin day four at 112-2, with Stokes (10) also at the crease.
Earlier, spinner Jack Leach took three top-order wickets in six balls in the morning session before Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel struck a 110-run partnership to keep Pakistan in the contest.
But Stokes then introduced Ahmed in the afternoon session and the youngster ripped apart Pakistan’s middle order.
Resuming on an overnight score of 21-0, trailing by 29 runs, Pakistan lost opener Shan Masood for 24 while Azhar Ali was out for a duck in his final test appearance.
Leach then trapped Abdullah Shafique (26) lbw for his third wicket as the hosts, playing for pride in front of their home crowd, looked desperate for a turnaround.
Half-centuries by Babar and Saud added some life to Pakistan’s fight but Ahmed derailed their revival with three vital wickets.
The 18-year-old got his biggest scalp when Babar was caught by Ollie Pope in mid-wicket and Ahmed later removed Mohammad Rizwan with a perfect leg-break delivery.
Saud was Ahmed’s third victim before Mohammad Wasim was added to the list as the youngster was cheered on by his father, who was beaming with joy in the stands.
Ahmed completed his five-wicket haul by removing Agha Salman, leading the England team off the field as he tossed the ball up and down in his hands in celebration.
Joe Root and Mark Wood were also among the wicket-takers.
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