All-rounder Ben Stokes was rewarded for his daring second innings declaration and attacking field placement as England sealed a famous 74-run victory over Pakistan in a thrilling Day Five of the first Test at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for one of their famous wins.
Racing against time, light and a stubborn Pakistan batting order on the most docile of pitches, England held their nerve as Jack Leach claimed the crucial final wicket by trapping Naseem Shah lbw, clinching one of England's greatest Test wins.
The 74-run win is England's third Test victory in Pakistan, with Stokes becoming just the third visiting skipper after Ted Dexter in 1961 and Nasser Hussain in 2000, to win a Test match in Pakistan.
It was all made possible after Stokes' bold declaration at tea on Day Four on Sunday, which gave Pakistan a stiff target of 343 for an improbable win. But an inspired bowling performance from fast bowlers James Anderson (4-36) and Player of the Match Ollie Robinson (4-50) forced a heroic victory for England to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The loss has meant that Pakistan's hopes of making the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 final have been dented.
Wins for Australia and India in their respective series' against South Africa and Bangladesh respectively would see Pakistan, currently ranked fifth in the table, miss out on a spot in the finals.
Pakistan's loss also puts India in control to reach the WTC final given that they can now secure their place even if they lose one of the Tests against Australia at home, provided they do a 2-0 sweep of Bangladesh.
If Australia win the remaining Test against West Indies and at least two Tests against South Africa, they would still be well-placed to make the final.
The Test match action between England and Pakistan would now shift to Multan for the second Test starting from December 9.