Ben Stokes and Ben Duckett successfully guided England to a historic series whitewash in Pakistan in just 38 minutes on the morning of the fourth day of the Karachi Test Match.
England had been set 167 to win on the evening of day three and started their chase in a manner that epitomised the attacking brand of cricket played by the side, quickly reducing the required total to 55 overnight.
The pair quickly knocked off the total in just 11.1 overs on the morning of day four to triumph by eight wickets.
Duckett finished with an unbeaten 82, ending the tour of Pakistan in the manner he started, playing fluent shots, and was supported by his captain who promoted himself up the order and finished with an unbeaten 35.
One point of contention remains for Stokes however, as he was unable to hit a final six that would see him move past head coach Brendon McCullum’s record for the highest number of maximums scored in Test cricket.
Duckett ended the contest with a boundary, and England could begin celebrating another significant success.
“Going to sleep last night, I wanted to really be there at the end,” Duckett told Sky Sports. “I am genuinely not sure I will play in a team like this ever again.
“We are willing to lose games to win, and I think when you go with that mentality all the pressure comes off you. We are just out there trying to enjoy it, and I think it is pretty obvious from the outside that is the case.”
Speaking during the post-match presentation ceremony, Stokes said: “At every point in the series, and in particular with the ball, whoever I threw the ball to, they seemed to deliver.
“A lot gets spoken about the way in which we bat, but the way we have applied ourselves with the ball and the mindset and commitment we’ve had has been top drawer.
“The confidence everyone has in themselves and the people around them is unbelievable.”
Stokes also had praise for centurion Harry Brook and 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who took five wickets in Pakistan’s second innings on his Test debut.
“Harry Brook has been unbelievable for us this series,” Stokes added.
“He has been a serious treat to watch. The calmness he has at such a young age has been high class.
“Rehan, 18 years old, to go out there and do what he does. He is not the finished article, but to have someone like that coming in and affect the game like he has done is exciting for English cricket.”
On the third day in the City of Lights, Ahmed had become the youngest player in the history of men’s Test cricket to take five wickets in an innings on debut to move England to within touching distance of the victory.
Ahmed finished with five wickets for just 48 runs as Pakistan were bowled out for 216, collapsing from 176-4 to set the meagre victory target that England ultimately hunted down with minimal fuss.
The introduction of the teenager on the afternoon of day three helped turn the momentum England’s way, as he broke a 110-run fourth-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel that had briefly given Pakistan a lifeline.
Under Stokes and McCullum, England have won six of their seven home Test matches and followed up that successful summer by winning their first overseas tour in style in a country where forcing results has proven tricky.
Australia’s visit in March was likened to a ‘15-day Test’ with two dull draws on lifeless pitches followed up by a final-day victory in the series-decider.
But England have won all three matches, with two Tests finishing with a day to spare.
The team’s next commitment is a two-match tour of New Zealand in February, followed by a one-off match with Ireland in June before the big test of Stokes and McCullum’s reign will come with the summer’s Ashes series, which starts in June.