Host completes 167-run win after Mahmood picks up four wickets
Mahmood's form augurs well for the Ashes seriesPanesar does his bit by snapping up three wickets
LEEDS: Sajid Mahmood, the 6ft-4in son of a family originally from Rawalpindi, took four decisive wickets as England won the third Test and the series against Pakistan at Headingley on Tuesday.
Mahmood combines the presence of one of those huge soldiers at the Wagah border post with an athletic body that demonstrates his kinship with his cousin Amir Khan, the boxing silver medallist in the last Olympics. And for the first time he looked the part of a Test fast bowler too.
After only four Tests the world is beginning to wake up to his potential, which is so great that if he continues to improve as he has this summer, England may not miss Simon Jones when the Ashes is replayed.
Mahmood had Faisal Iqbal and Kamran Akmal caught behind the wicket in the same over before lunch and Shahid Nazir and Umar Gul afterwards as England completed a 167-run victory, 80 minutes after lunch.
Panesar snares three
Monty Panesar, the lad from an Indian family who had been tipped as the match-winner, took one wicket fewer than Mahmood but snared the opener Taufeeq Umar, top-scorer Younis Khan and, finally, Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Headingley was overflowing on the final day as the local Pakistanis, wrapped in their green flags, joined the noisy English brigade and matched them shout for shout. The new arrivals believed they might win but a disastrous run-out made that the least likely result.
Pakistan began confidently as if its plan was to win by attacking. Once Panesar had one over so that Matthew Hoggard could bowl from the Rugby Stand end and Steve Harmison run down the hill from the Kirkstall Lane. Twenty-three runs came in ten overs before Hoggard had Salman Butt caught at first slip and 52 off 18 when Panesar had Umar snapped up at silly point.
The turning point
Younis Khan, whose 173 in the first innings was a delightful mix of power and ease, was already into his stride and Mohammad Yousuf hit Panesar through the covers purposefully as soon as he took guard.
We settled down to watch these two stride towards 323, a huge score we told ourselves but not beyond great batsmen on a ground where 404 was once scored in a shortened day. Instead the impossible happened. The cool Younis dabbed the ball straight to Paul Collingwood in the slip area and ran. Yousuf paused and then galloped towards the stumps but he was too late as Collingwood hit the stumps and turned an evenly balanced match into an England win.
Turning the screws
In the next 28 balls, Mahmood turned the screws remorselessly with his best spell in four Tests: powerful, high speed and attacking.
Faisal Iqbal tried to glance a legside ball and Chris Read swooped to snaffle another unexpected victim. Soon, Kamran Akmal edged an outswinger to Read so that at lunch Pakistan was 84 for five.
Inzamam, who missed so much play after injuring his ribs when he got out on day three, could not bat until five wickets were down and, as he and Younis occupy high positions in the world rankings, the Pakistan section of the 15,500 crowd continued to cheer every short single; but at 112 another disaster struck when Younis was bowled attacking Panesar.
Inzamam looked full of runs, as usual, but one run later he and Mohammad Sami got into such a state that Kevin Pietersen was able to throw a simple catch to Mahmood who ran Sami out.
Inzamam plodded on, with an intrepid Shahid Nazir, Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria but in the end he sauntered down the pitch and was stumped to give Read five victims in his comeback match.