Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @miller_cricket
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This is not a drill. England have won a Test match, at the ninth time of asking - and it was a handsome victory in the final analysis too. A three-day win, sealed in an extended afternoon session after a day of relentless dominance, ensured a 1-1 share of the two-match series, and postponed - at least until August and the arrival of Virat Kohli's India - the existential angst that has hung over Joe Root's team in the early weeks of the season.
In an uplifting development for England's medium-term prospects, the day was delivered in a pleasing synthesis of old guard and new. James Anderson and Stuart Broad topped and tailed Pakistan's second innings with a share of five wickets, as they continued to rail against those who might seek to have them put out to pasture. However, it was the young guns, Dom Bess and Sam Curran, who hustled England towards their goal, as well as a notable returnee, Jos Buttler, who delivered the point-of-difference innings for which he had been selected.
For Bess, in particular, it was an especially triumphant day. Rarely can a 20-year-old have looked quite so at home and composed at the highest level of the game, especially when he had hardly been called upon to perform the role for which he had been selected.
And yet, Bess hasn't wasted a minute of his seven days in the Test limelight. Having made his mark with the bat - both in adversity at Lord's and in forging a position of relative authority in England's only innings here - he had time here to showcase his athleticism in the field before being finally tossed the ball for the 23rd over of Pakistan's second innings: a stunning one-handed pluck at mid-off to extract the dangerous Haris Sohail was a pretty impressive way to pass his time.
When his spell finally began, Imam-ul-Haq greeted Bess with a fairly contemptuous smack back down the pitch - a continuation of Pakistan's rather breakneck approach to their second innings, as if they had sized up Buttler's earlier belligerence and decided that attack was the only means of defending their hard-won series lead.
But to the bowler's immense credit, he refused to be cowed, or to desist from tossing the ball up and inviting further aggression. From the sixth ball of that very same over, he slid one into Imam's front pad, benefiting from the natural variation that can occur when you consistently target the footholes, and up went umpire Bruce Oxenford's finger to end a wait that a less ebullient character would surely have allowed to cramp his style.
A change of ends for Bess allowed his fellow rookie (and birthday boy) Sam Curran to join the fray - and in his second over he too was in the wickets, properly this time, after his maiden Test wicket had been a first-innings slog to deep midwicket. This time, a perfect off-stump lifter to Shadab Khan, the game's only remaining teenager, was deflected to Alastair Cook at first slip, and one of Pakistan's most reliable sources of runs in their victories at Lord's and Malahide had been dispatched for just 4.
Thereafter, it was back to Bess to make up for lost time - as Pakistan continued to bat as if running out of time. Faheem Ashraf, perfectly capable of playing the long game when it suits him, chose instead to take a slog outside off and skied a simple catch to backward point. And then Usman Salahuddin - hitherto batting with the patience of a player who has waited seven years to get his big break - was lured inexplicably into a rash swipe to mid-on.
Bess' figures at this stage were 3 for 21 in 8.2 overs, and not even a massive first-ball mow over deep midwicket from Hasan Ali could wipe the grin from his face. Quite rightly, Joe Root trusted him to close out the contest, and to judge by the number of air shots that landed safe in the closing overs, he would surely have done so, had it not been for the old stager Broad, who docked the tail via two old-school nicks to slip in consecutive overs to wrap up a point-proving display with match figures of 6 for 66.
That wasn't, however, the most devilish array of sixes in the day's play. That accolade was reserved for Buttler, who transcended the tricky conditions, the seeping of English wickets at the other end, and his own lack of familiarity with first-class cricket to tailor the contest to his own strengths. In essence, that involved planting his front foot, flinging his ninja-quick wrists through the line of the ball, and belting England into an invincible position before the innings had fully ebbed away.
Having resumed on 34 overnight - Buttler duly became the first man in the innings to pass fifty, and had he been allowed to loiter for a further three overs, he might well have recorded the first century of the series to boot. His final 11 balls went for 4, 6, 1, 1, 1, 4, 4, dot, 4, 6 and 4 - 35 runs in all - but at the other end, Broad and Anderson, in this discipline at least, were unable to fulfil their sides of the bargain.
It mattered not in the end - England are off the mark for their home summer. And Buttler, having segued seamlessly from the IPL to Test cricket in only a matter of days, seemed perfectly primed to take on Scotland and Australia in the middle-distance 50-over format. It all comes rather quickly at the moment, triumph and disaster as well.
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