Rehan Ahmed put England on the brink of a memorable 3-0 victory in Pakistan

Legspinner Rehan Ahmed became the youngest men’s Test cricketer to claim a five-wicket haul on his debut, taking England to the brink of a historic 3–0 sweep on his first Test tour to Pakistan in 17 years.

Pakistan’s batsmen collapsed for 216 in the second innings of the third and final Test as 18-year-old Ahmed took 5-48 and Jack Leach (3-72) claimed all three of his wickets in a span of six deliveries on Day 3 at England a modest target of 167 runs.

Ben Duckett (50 not out) and Zak Crawley (41) took England to 112-2 with their aggressive “Bazball” batsman – named after their coach Brendon McCullum.

England need a further 55 runs to record their second successive victory within four days of their thrilling 26-run win at Multan last week. England won the First Test by 74 runs in low light on the final day on a flat wicket at Rawalpindi.

Crawley and Duckett plundered 87 runs from 69 balls before mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed took two late wickets. Crawley got leg for wicket while attempting a sweep and Rehan Ahmed (10), promoted forward, hit two boundaries before swiping and bowled clean.

Harry Brook’s third consecutive century had given England a 50-run lead in the first innings when they answered with 354 after dismissing Pakistan for 304, with Ahmed and Leach sharing six wickets between them. Pakistan, staring at its first ever 3-0 whitewash at home, lost the last seven wickets for 52 runs in the second innings as Ahmed quelled the middle order with his sharp googlies and legspin.

Captain Babar Azam (54) hit his third half century in the last four innings and Saud Shakeel (53) made his fourth fifty in his debut series before Ahmed left the lower order ignorant on a wicket that has variable bounce and slow spin from day 1 .

Babar and Shakeel had revived Pakistan’s hopes with a score of 110 runs before both fell to Ahmed late in the second session. Babar became the fourth Test player to complete 1,000 runs this year, but played an overambitious pull against Ahmed’s short ball shortly after completing his half-century and Ollie Pope had a sharp catch at short mid-wicket.

Ahmed, who also became England’s youngest Test debutant at the age of 18 years and 126 days, then took the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (7) and Shakeel in successive overs to seize full control as Pakistan reached 177-6 at tea . Shakeel continued his three previous half-centuries in his first Test series with another challenging fifty before winning a sweep against Ahmed and being caught square-legged by Leach. Babar and Shakeel had defied spin and pace for 2 hours, 45 minutes after Leach’s triple strike had reduced Pakistan to 54-3.

Pakistan were just three runs ahead as the top order crashed to Leach on a wicket where spinners dominated. Former captain Azhar Ali had a disappointing end to his 97-Test career as the 37-year-old fell without scoring in his final innings when Leach hit his stump back with a sharp spinning pitch.

England players applauded and shook hands with Azhar before he took last watch among a sparse crowd at the National Stadium with his wife and two sons.

But Azhar lasted just four balls against his former Somerset team-mate Leach before the England players shook his hand again for one last time. Azhar was met with a guard of honor from his teammates on the edge of the boundary line as he slowly walked back into the locker room. Shan Masood (24) resumed the game at 21-0 and started promisingly by crushing Joe Root for three boundaries and a six before the offspinner was taken out of the attack after two overs.

Abdullah Shafique swept the 50-point deficit with a drawn line against Mark Wood’s 90 mph bouncer before Leach struck three times without conceding a run. The southpaw Masood was bowled playing an extravagant reverse sweep when the ball sliced ​​the underside of his bat before hitting the leg stump.

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Four balls later, Leach sent Azhar packing and then pinned Shafique (26) perpendicular to the forefoot to leave Pakistan on the mat.

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