Yasir inspires Pakistan to Oval victory


Yasir Shah claimed his sixth five-wicket haul as Pakistan wrapped up victory over England in the fourth and final Test to level the series 2-2.

After tormenting England's top order at the end of day three, the spinner (5-71) finished off the job on Sunday despite the hosts' desperate attempts to salvage something from the game.

Solid partnerships between Gary Ballance (17), Jonny Bairstow (81) and Moeen Ali (32) gave England hope, but once again they lost quick wickets at crucial times.

That meant Alastair Cook's side could only muster a 39-run advantage as they were bowled out for 253, a target Sami Aslam (12 not out) and Azhar Ali (30 not out) easily polished off with over a day to spare at The Oval.

Pakistan's 10-wicket victory ensures the Test series is tied and gives them the chance to climb to world number one should results in Sri Lanka and the West Indies go in their favour.

England started day four 88-4 after Yasir had taken three late wickets to give Pakistan the upper hand, but Ballance and Bairstow showed early resolve to frustrate the tourists.

Together the pair lifted England's score into three figures, with Bairstow taking the lead and his Yorkshire colleague Ballance playing the anchor role.

Their fifth-wicket stand edged past 50 but Sohail Khan (1-50) produced a stunning delivery that shaped away from Ballance, the 26-year-old giving Sarfraz Ahmed an easy catch behind the stumps.

Such is England's depth of batting there was still more resistance as Moeen - fresh off the back of his first-innings century - joined Bairstow at the crease.

Both men took the attack to Pakistan's bowlers as they added 65 runs in 15 overs, Bairstow going past 50 in the process, but the loss of Moeen began England's downfall.

Yasir's return ended his resistance and nine overs later Chris Woakes (4) and Bairstow were following him, the pair dismissed in successive balls as Pakistan edged nearer to victory.

A clip off Steven Finn's (16 not out) legs put England ahead in the match but the hosts could only build a minimal advantage, which Pakistan wasted no time in knocking off.

Azhar launched a huge six to secure victory for Pakistan, leaving England to rue a disappointing display - compounded by a potential hamstring injury to Finn.