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England and Pakistan are among the top-ranked cricket-playing nations in the world and when the two sides meet, the game often produces moments of excitement and brilliance for passionate fans such as Fiyaz Mughal.

The 2018 Test matches between the two sides certainly kept fans captivated as England stars Dom Bess and Jos Buttler put in brilliant performances for the team.

The first Test match at Lord’s ended in a defeat for England, a nine-wicket loss that had players, commentators and fans disappointed. Surely, things had to change in the second Test and the England team knew it had to step up and redeem itself after the loss. Some criticism was to be expected, and it seemed to have been the catalyst for a turnaround in the succeeding matchup.

England won the second Test by an innings and 55 runs, with commentators impressed by the team’s energy, spirit and ability to excel in all aspects of the game. Having the England team’s biggest talents produce great performances always helps, and there are few with more talent than Jos Buttler.

Buttler put in 80 runs not out during the second Test, with his play elevating with every passing day. By the third morning he was spectacular, playing aggressively and even hitting a straight six runs off Pakistan bowler Faheem Ashraf. Buttler’s character resonated with his fellow team members, who played off the energy he displayed.

Dom Bess, on the other hand, claimed his first Test wicket in taking three wickets for 33 runs while compatriot Stuart Broad returned the same number of wickets for just 28 runs. Their partnership proved effective in limiting Pakistan to 134 runs all out in the second innings.

To commentators, Bess is a player who displays a good attitude to the game and bats with maturity. An off-spinner, he’s shown enough to give the national team selector a decision to make, and proved to be a capable spinner that the England side can rely on.

Reversal of Fortunes

England’s first Test defeat at home was not the first time it has happened, but it stood out because it was one of the worst home performances the team has had in recent memory. The team was severely criticised, but the second Test win brought out qualities lacking in the defeat. Led by captain Joe Root, the team took advantage of Pakistan’s miscues to control the game.

If England’s dominating performance in the second Test was captivating, so was Pakistan’s reversal of fortunes. While they tried to do some damage with the ball, their fielding and batting were nowhere near what fans saw in the first Test. The team was slow at chipping away at the first-innings deficit, with commentators noting a somewhat casual approach to proceedings.

A Long History

These two sides have a long history, with the first Test series dating back to 1954. It was a wet summer during play, as the first and third Tests were affected by the weather, and the opening game had to played on the fourth day. Pakistan bowler Fazal Mahmood was the star of the show, claiming 12 wickets at The Oval and ensuring his team made history during its maiden trip.

Other years have had their fair share of controversy. In 2010, three Pakistan players were taken into custody after it emerged they had played a role in a conspiracy to bowl no-balls during a Test match at Lord’s. In 2006, a ball-tampering row made Pakistan walk off the field in protest, leading the umpires to declare a forfeiture and ultimately the banning of one umpire.