Watch: Ben Stokes’ short-ball ploy worked to perfection, dismissing two key Pakistan batters, including captain Babar Azam, and injuring another.
While the ploy was seemingly in part used to rough up the ball in order to get some reverse-swing going, it managed to secure some vital breakthroughs too, with wickets having proved hard to come by throughout the Test match.
England set Pakistan 343 to win at Rawalpindi, and Ollie Robinson struck early, enticing first-innings centurion Abdullah Shafique to hook to deep square. Two balls later, he struck again, Azhar Ali hit on the hand as he fended the ball away and forced to retire hurt.
One over later, Stokes reeled in the big fish, a well-directed bouncer rising more than Babar expected and coming back into the Pakistan captain. He arched his back and fended away, but only succeeded in tickling an under-edge through to wicketkeeper Ollie Pope.
At first, Stokes was unaware of the nick, and only Pope appealed. Soon enough the all-rounder joined in and Babar was sent on his way, leaving Pakistan reeling at 25-2. Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel joined forces to take Pakistan to stumps unscathed, with England needing eight wickets and Pakistan 243 runs for victory on what is set up to be a thrilling final day.