Rehan Ahmed said his Test debut for England was the best day of his life, after he took two wickets against Pakistan.

Ahmed became England's youngest men's Test player when he started against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

With England having won the three-match series already, captain Ben Stokes handed the 18-year-old all-rounder a chance to shine.

Ahmed did not disappoint, finishing with figures of 2-89 as Pakistan were bowled out for 304 on day one.

"It was the best day of my life," the teenager told Sky Sports.

"I couldn't have asked for more and it is the biggest blessing sent down to me. I didn't expect to play.

"I just came on this tour to get better but they've given me a chance to play.

"I believe in myself and I've been given the opportunity so I just tried my best. I didn't sleep at all last night. I was very nervous before the first ball but the whole day was good. I felt more relaxed as the day went on."

Ahmed took his first wicket when Ollie Pope caught Saud Shakeel at short leg, and his second came with a brilliant googly that pinned Faheem Ashraf leg before wicket.

It was a day for the spinners, with Jack Leach taking 4-140, while Babar Azam was run out for 78 during one of Ahmed's overs.

England did lose Zak Crawley for a duck late in the final session, with the tourists reaching stumps on 7-1.

England youngest men's Test debutant Rehan Amhed took two wickets as Ben Stokes' team enjoyed a strong start against Pakistan.

Ahmed made history on Saturday, becoming the youngest male player to make his Test bow for England, at the age of 18 years and 126 days.

The leg-spinning all-rounder had a day to remember at the National Stadium in Karachi, in the third and final Test of a series England have already won.

Ahmed's fellow spinner Jack Leach (4-140) made early inroads for England, dismissing Abdullah Shafique before taking a catch to send Shan Masood packing.

Babar Azam (78) and Azhar Ali (45) guided Pakistan above 100, but Ollie Robinson had the latter walking back to the dressing room after a review showed an edge through to Ben Foakes.

Ahmed's first wicket came next – Ollie Pope lunging forward at short leg after Saud Shakeel edged onto his pad.

The teenager was involved again when the key wicket of Babar fell in one of his overs, Pakistan's captain being made to pay for hesitating when Foakes swept off the bails from Harry Brook's throw.

A superb googly saw Ahmed collect his second wicket, with Faheem Ashraf pinned leg before wicket, paving the way for Leach to round matters off and have Pakistan all out for 304.

Zak Crawley failed to survive the first over of England's innings, Abrar Ahmed's excellent delivery doing for the opener, but Ben Duckett and Pope ensured no further loss as the tourists reached stumps at 7-1.

Ahmed delivers on debut

There has been plenty of focus on history-making Ahmed ahead of this Test, with Stokes able to afford the youngster a chance with the series already wrapped up.

Ahmed did not let anybody down, however, and finished with final figures of 2-89 on a day for the spinners in Karachi.

Captain's knock from Babar

Pakistan might well have been looking down the barrel of a series whitewash already if not for their skipper, whose 78 came from 123 deliveries and included nine boundaries.

He was ably supported by Agha Salman (56), who succumbed to a Leach delivery late in the innings.

James Anderson is enjoying the thrill ride of Ben Stokes' England captaincy and the challenge of "thinking differently", ahead of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

The 40-year-old has impressed in the tourists' first two matches and will be rested for the last encounter, with an eye on England's trip to New Zealand in the new year.

With 177 caps, Anderson is second only to India great Sachin Tendulkar for all-time Test appearances, and he has posted eight wickets at 18.50 while in Pakistan.

His efforts come amid a more aggressive approach to the long-form game favoured by Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, which Anderson says is having a galvanising effect on all England's bowlers.

"I love thinking about the game, thinking about plans, and Ben is that sort of captain," Anderson said. "All he thinks about is taking wickets.

"He's not bothered about trying to dry the run rate up or control the game. He wants to take wickets. You see that with the fields he sets. That then rubs off on you as a bowler.

"This seems to be working for this group of bowlers, and we've got a nice mix of bowlers. I've found it refreshing thinking differently, even though I've played a lot of games."

The third Test begins on Saturday, with Anderson expecting England to head in with the same positive approach that has brought two wins so far, as instilled by captain and coach.

"As long as you're getting hit in the right areas, they don't care if you go for the odd four," Anderson said, quoted by Cricinfo. "That gives you confidence to bowl, knowing that you don't have to fret about how many runs you're going for.

"If that's the way you're trying to get people out, with catchers in front of the wicket as they have been out here, then they're completely fine with it."

Ben Stokes is relishing the chance to see Rehan Ahmed in action after naming the teenager as England's youngest ever men's Test debutant.

The spinner, aged 18 years and 126 days, will face Pakistan in the third and final red-ball match of the tourists' series, having been drafted in alongside wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

Ahmed's inclusion sees him break the long-standing record of former captain Brian Close, who made his bow at 18 years and 149 days in 1949.

Stokes, who previously said he would not hand caps out easily, insists Ahmed has earned his place in the team for their last game.

"I think it's a good opportunity for us to not only look at him, but for him to come in and experience what it's like to play international cricket," he said.

"We obviously brought him into the squad to try and get him amongst us and experience what it's like being in this cricket team, and we've been very impressed with what we've seen.

"He's got a lot of skill with both bat and ball, so it's great to be able to bring someone with the talent and the excitement that he has into the squad and see what he's got this week.

"I think being at such a young age, it's great to see someone who has so much freedom in what they do and the way that he bats.

"He likes to get on with it and show what he's about and almost, not show off, but show what he can do. He's got a vast array of shots, and obviously a wrist-spinner is great to be able to have in your team.

"It's exciting times for Rehan especially, and he was very excited when we gave him the nod that he was going to play last night."

Rehan Ahmed will become the youngest man to play a Test for England when the teenager makes his debut in the final match of the series against Pakistan.

Ahmed will be aged 18 years and 126 days when he makes his Test bow at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

The leg-spinning all-rounder will break a long-standing record held by Brian Close since back in 1949.

Ahmed and Ben Foakes come into the side as replacements for Will Jacks and James Anderson.

Nottingham-born Ahmed earned a call-up with some impressive performances for Leicestershire in the County Championship.

While Ahmed will be making his first Test appearance, Pakistan batter Azhar Ali has announced he will retire from the longest format after playing in Karachi.

England have already won the series and will be looking to pull off a first whitewash in Pakistan.

Pakistan batter Azhar Ali will retire from Test cricket after the final match of the series against England.

The 37-year-old has announced the 97th match of his career in the longest format at the National Stadium in Karachi, which starts on Saturday, will be his last.

Azhar is Pakistan's fifth-highest Test-run scorer with 7,097 at an average of 42.49, making an outstanding 19 hundreds and 35 half-centuries after making his debut in 2010.

The classy right-hander, whose highest score was a magnificent 302 not out against West Indies in 2016, captained his country in nine Tests during two tenures.

Azhar said: "It has been a great honour and privilege for me to represent my country at the highest level. Deciding on when to call it a day is always tough, but, after contemplating deeply, I realised that this is the right time for me to retire from Test cricket.

"There are many people who I am grateful to in this strenuous, yet beautiful journey. I want to make a special mention of my family without whose sacrifices; I would not have been where I am today. My parents, wife, siblings, and children have been my strength throughout.

"I have been blessed to share a dressing room with some of the most outstanding cricketers with whom I share a strong bond. I feel much richer by calling these people my friends. I am also blessed to have played under some wonderful coaches to whom I will always remain grateful. 

"I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself. Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me.

"From being a kid who started as a leg-spinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting line-up, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever."

Teenager Rehan Ahmed is in line to become England's youngest men's Test debutant as the tourists prepare for their third and final red-ball clash with Pakistan.

The 18-year-old, who was added to the senior squad after impressing in an Abu Dhabi camp ahead of the team flying out, was passed over for the first two matches.

With Liam Livingstone having suffered a tour-ending injury in the opener, however, Ahmed is the only recognised wrist-spinner England have ahead of their last match in Karachi.

Having favoured the additional slow options of Joe Root and Will Jacks on flat pitches so far, captain Ben Stokes has revealed Ahmed could well figure as the tourists look to complete a clean sweep. 

"We've been thinking about it," he said. "We can't go into too much detail until me and Baz [head coach Brendon McCullum] have had a look at the wicket.

"When we spoke about having Rehan into the squad, it was more than just bringing him in and integrating him into the squad. We did speak about us having no issues with selecting him if we felt it was the right option.

"I don't think this is a case of, if he was to play, of giving caps away. We picked him in the squad not just because of his talent, but because we thought it would be a good opportunity to play if we thought it was necessary."

Ahmed was not originally in the squad named for the tour, but a maiden cap would round out a breakthrough year that saw him impress in the Under-19 World Cup and earn a spot with Southern Brave in the Hundred.

"Having a wrist-spinner is always exciting, especially for England," Stokes added.

"But [we are] not getting too carried away with the potential that he has, because he is only young, and you've still got to nurture talent, even how exciting it is."

If Ahmed were to play, he would be 18 years and 126 days - surpassing legendary captain Brian Close who was 18 years and 149 days when making his debut in 1949.

The youngest ever England Test debutant was Holly Colvin, who was 15 years and 336 days when playing for England women against Australia in 2005.

Ish Sodhi has been recalled to New Zealand's Test squad for the upcoming tour of Pakistan, four years after he last played for the Black Caps in this format.

The Canterbury leg-spinner has been included in the 15-player squad for the two-Test series, which begins in Karachi on December 26 before concluding in Multan eight days later.

Sodhi has remained a mainstay in his nation's T20 side, having recently claimed his 100th wicket in that format, and coach Gary Stead highlighted the importance of his return to the red-ball setup.

"Ish has been playing international cricket for almost a decade now, and we're backing his skills and experience," he said.

"Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Pakistan and England Test series, we feel having a wrist-spinner in the team will be important."

Meanwhile, this will be Tim Southee's first Test as captain with Kane Williamson also included after announcing his decision to step down as skipper in this format.

Uncapped Blair Tickner could make his Test bow, while Glenn Phillips has been named in the squad almost three years on from his sole red-ball appearance against Australia in January 2020.

New Zealand Test squad to face Pakistan: Tim Southee (captain), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

Mark Wood considered giving up Test cricket during his long absence with injury before playing a starring role in England's second Test triumph over Pakistan.

Wood had not played a Test since March because of an elbow injury, but helped inspire England to a 26-run victory in Multan with crucial wickets on the final day that swung a see-saw game back in his team's favour.

The Test was Wood's first under new captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, with England having now won eight of their nine Tests with that combination at the helm.

After missing the first eight matches of the new leadership's tenure, Wood was delighted to be back involved in the red-ball side after pondering whether to give it up during his time away.

"I desperately wanted to experience this, with Stokesy and Brendon," Wood told reporters. "I'm pleased I stuck with it.

"I wondered if I'd go white-ball only. At some my point my body will say that it's the way to go but I didn't prepare for white-ball, I prepared for all cricket."

Stokes' in-form side became the first England team to win two Tests in a series in Pakistan, and Wood is thrilled with his Durham team-mate's impressive start to life as captain.

"It's weird, the lad I grew up with," Wood added. "Stokesy now is much more mature.

"He speaks so well – he's always had a fantastic cricket brain. But the way he comes across, the way he conducts himself and the messages that he gives, he's just so much more rounded than when we were growing up.

"He was this alpha guy who would whack it, never back down. He's still got all that, but he's got other sides to him now. He'll put an arm round people, express what he means really articulately.

"He's been world-class, to be fair."

Naseem Shah has been ruled out of Pakistan's third Test against England in Karachi as he continues to struggle with a shoulder injury.

Shah was in clear discomfort with his right shoulder during the opening Test loss in Rawalpindi, though he still managed to pick up five wickets on a flat pitch.

The 19-year-old paceman missed the second Test in Multan, where England secured their first Test series win in Pakistan for 22 years with a thrilling 26-run victory.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed the fast bowler will play no part in the third and final Test, which starts on Saturday.

"A niggle in the bowling shoulder has ruled out Naseem Shah from the third and final Test between Pakistan and England at Karachi," a PCB said in a statement.

"The fast bowler will travel to Lahore where he will undergo further assessment at the National High Performance Centre before beginning rehabilitation.

"The team management has not requested for his replacement at this stage."

Pakistan have also been without fellow quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf through injury.

Ben Stokes believes Harry Brook can emulate Virat Kohli's all-format batting dominance after the England youngster again impressed in Pakistan.

Yorkshire batter Brook played a key role as England secured a first Test series victory in Pakistan in 22 years after a nail-biting 26-run victory in Multan on Monday.

The 23-year-old managed only nine runs in the first innings but responded with 109 in the second – the only century of the second Test – to help England to an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

That form comes as no surprise given Brook blasted 153 and 87 in Rawalpindi, with his red-ball international average sitting at an impressive 73.8 from his five innings.

Yet Stokes believes this is only the start for Brook, who he expects to shine across all formats of cricket as he compared the England batter to India great Kohli.

"After the summer he had last year, getting all the big-ups before he made his debut, to come here and put in that kind of performance again was just phenomenal," Stokes told Sky Sports.

"He's one of those rare players that you look across all formats and you can just see him being successful everywhere.

"It's a massive shout, but Virat Kohli is one of those guys where his technique is just so simple and works everywhere. The pressure that he puts back onto opposition is exactly what we're about."

Brook accumulated just 56 runs, averaging just 11.2 across six innings, as England lifted their second T20 World Cup in Australia.

The middle-order batter has impressed in the shortest format for England in his 20 outings, though, with the expectation he will slot into Jos Buttler's side for the 50-over Cricket World Cup in India in 2023.

Stokes does not foresee the pressure impacting the form of Brook, given the comfortable manner in which he stepped into the Test side.

"The expectation on his shoulders coming into this team, because of how good he's been for Yorkshire, was obviously huge," he said.

"But I think that just shows that kind of stuff doesn't really affect him. He's a player whose technique is suited to all three formats, he wants to always look to be putting pressure back onto the opposition, and he's won another game for England.

"[He made a] huge contribution last week, and the hundred he scored here was obviously massive for us in getting that big lead.

"He's a pretty simple lad to captain: he just gets about his business, loves his batting, wants to constantly improve, constantly work on it. He's a pretty easy bloke to have in your dressing room."

Jonny Bairstow's injury offered Brook the chance to take the number-five role for Stokes, with the England Test captain acknowledging he is fortunate to have a wealth of batting talent to call upon.

"We're very, very lucky with the way in which we can replace Jonny, to have Harry coming in, because those two, batting No.5, they both go about it in exactly the same way," he added.

"They bring so much to the team and obviously Harry playing the way he has done at the moment with Jonny not being in the team, unfortunately, it's the best thing you want.

"You want competition for places, you want a strong squad to be able to pick from, and you want those headaches when it comes to the final XI every week, rather than saying 'I'm not sure who we're going to pick, let's pick a name out of the hat.'

"We're definitely not in that situation, and we feel like we've got all bases covered at the moment."

Ben Stokes hopes England's thrilling series victory in Pakistan will help to dispel negative perceptions of Test cricket across the sport. 

England took an unassailable lead in the three-match series – their first in Pakistan since 2005 – by seeing out a 26-run win in a nail-biting end to the second Test on Monday.

An 80-run stand between Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Nawaz looked to have put Pakistan on course for victory in Multan, but Mark Wood felled both men before Ollie Robinson had Mohammad Ali nick behind for the final wicket in a dramatic finish.

While Pakistan have now lost three straight home Test matches for the first time since 1959, England brought an end to their 22-year wait for a red-ball triumph in the country.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the victory, Stokes, who has overseen eight wins in his nine Tests as skipper, praised England for redefining the format.

"We do understand how special an achievement this is, but as we keep saying, these series victories and these wins are part of a much bigger picture in what we're trying to achieve," he said.

"When I first got the job, I just wanted to come in and just try and change a few things up and get things going in a different direction. 

"We were never focusing too much on results when I came into the job, and obviously the bigger picture and stuff like that, but it's been an amazing nine games to start off with.

"I just feel very honoured and very privileged to be a part of something like this and having everyone, not just the players but the backroom staff and everyone that works alongside us, being on the same path. It's really, really good.

"I knew how much enjoyment the public would get out of seeing England play Pakistan in a Test match in Pakistan. I don't feel like we're playing away, if that makes sense. 

"The way in which the crowd come and watch cricket, they just want to see good cricket. We walk off to people enjoying what they've just watched. That's what we want to do.

"Wherever we go in the world, we want people to enjoy the cricket, and the more we can do that, the more Test cricket stops getting spoken about like it's the losing form of cricket, because it's definitely not.

"All we can do is try to create something where we people want to be a part of the long format going forward."

England will head to Karachi for the final match of their long-awaited tour, which gets under way on Saturday. 

Babar Azam felt the decision to give Saud Shakeel out cost Pakistan as they slumped to a Test series defeat to England on day four at Multan Cricket Stadium.

The tourists won another dramatic match by 26 runs on Monday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Shakeel (94) and Mohammad Nawaz (45) appeared to have given Pakistan the upper hand with a sixth-wicket stand of 80, but both were removed in quick succession by Mark Wood.

Aleem Dar put his finger up after Shakeel edged a delivery from Wood down the leg side and third umpire Joel Wilson stayed with the on-field decision, seeing no evidence that Ollie Pope did not take the ball cleanly.

Pakistan captain Babar believes Shakeel should have remained in the middle.

He said: "The Shakeel dismissal cost us. It looked to us as if the ball had touched the ground. As a professional, you have to respect the umpire's decision, but we felt the ball had been grounded."

England skipper Ben Stokes had a different opinion on the incident.

He said: "I don't think [there were any doubts about the catch], personally. The only thing where you start worrying is when it gets looked at for a long period of time because that's when you start having doubt in your own head.

"I've been part of games before where I've been on the team who's been on the receiving end of those decisions and you're always like, 'that's not carried'.

"You see a lot of those decisions and those type of catches in cricket. You could say the similar thing was when Rooty [Joe Root] got caught at short leg - you could say that might have touched the floor.

"But you've just got to go with what the umpire's decision is. It went our way but I've been involved in a few decisions where stuff like that has gone against us. But you can't change that."

Mark Wood reflected on England's Test series victory over Pakistan as "a monumental day" after they won by 26 runs on day four at Multan Cricket Stadium.

Wood steamed in to take 4-65 as the tourists took an unassailable 2-0 lead with one match to play.

England had only won two Tests in Pakistan before a dramatic triumph in Rawalpindi last week and have now doubled their tally.

Ben Stokes' in-form side have made history, becoming the first England team to win two Tests in a series in Pakistan as they continue to ride on the crest of a wave under the inspiration captain and head coach Brendon McCullum.

Fast bowler Wood swung the game back in England's favour by getting Mohammad Nawaz (45) caught behind to end a sixth-wicket stand of 80 before seeing the back of Saud Shakeel (94) in his next over.

The excellent (2-23) Ollie Robinson finished off the job, while James Anderson (2-44) also bowled brilliantly in win that will live long in the memory for Wood.

He told Test Match Special: "It's a monumental day. Amazing feeling. The effort that everyone's put stands out for me. It's not just one game, it's two games.

Wood added: "I managed to get two wickets when Stokesy asked me to change the game. All game I got my bouncer a bit too off side but in that spell, I got it right.

"I feel knackered. It was a big effort and I'm proud of myself for it. Everyone feels great."

Wood continued: "It's something we'll look back at proudly at the end of our career. It hasn't sunk in completely yet but I think we'll be very proud."

England have won eight of their nine Tests with Stokes as skipper and McCullum at the helm.

Mark Wood inspired England to a first away Test-series win against Pakistan in 21 years after another dramatic match finished in a 26-run victory in Multan.

An 80-run stand between the formidable Saud Shakeel (94) and Mohammad Nawaz (45) had put Pakistan in a great position to level this sensational series at 1-1.

But Wood snared both their wickets in a brilliant spell shortly before lunch to swing it back in England's favour and finished with 4-65 in the second innings.

Ollie Robinson had Mohammad Ali nick behind for the final wicket as Pakistan were all out for 328 in pursuit of 355.

England had just two wins on Pakistan soil in the preceding 60 years prior to this series and have chalked up as many in the past fortnight. For the hosts, it is the first time they have lost three straight home Test matches since 1959.

It had not looked a foregone conclusion either, even after Faheem Ashraf poked a Joe Root off-break to Zak Crawley in the clips.

Shakeel had batted valiantly for almost five-and-a-half hours as Pakistan put themselves in a great position for a series-levelling victory.

At 290-5, captain Ben Stokes pulled Wood for a chat and immediately a short one from the paceman saw Nawaz play behind.

From Wood's next over, the dangerous Shakeel was gone, albeit contentiously when caught by Pope, with replays unable to conclusively show whether he had dragged the ball along the ground.

The soft dismissal was upheld, but Abrar Ahmed's fine debut continued with a quickfire 17 that was ended when he whacked James Anderson to Ben Duckett at cover.

Wood came back to rip up Zahid Mahmood's off stump and, although Agha Salman (20no) continued to give Pakistan hope, Robinson finished the job to complete one of England's finest away series wins and make it eight victories from nine Tests under Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

 

Wood rises to the occasion

Wood's injury troubles have been well documented but when fit and firing he is a huge asset to England and so it proved here.

With his side under the cosh and facing the very realistic prospect of losing the Test, Wood turned a see-saw match back in the tourists' favour.

Shakeel fights hard

That Pakistan were in the game at all owes much to the efforts of Shakeel, who fell agonisingly short of a maiden Test century as he followed up his 63 from the first innings with a patient 213-ball knock.

He will be desperately disappointed with a dismissal that was far from conclusive but his fight gave Pakistan real hope.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.