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‘To get Babar Azam out is a dream come true,’ says England’s Rehan Ahmed

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England’s Rehan Ahmed celebrates after taking five wickets during third Test between Pakistan vs England at National Stadium Karachi, Pakistan on December 19, 2022. — Reuters
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Teenage sensation Rehan Ahmed Monday said “to get Babar Azam out is a dream come true” after his heroics left England on the brink of victory in the third Test against Pakistan and a record clean sweep.

Ahmed dismissed Pakistan captain and key player Mohammad Rizwan among others as his spin bowling proved to be the game-changer for England on day three. 

The 18-year-old became the youngest debutant in men’s Test history to take five wickets in a single inning, beating the previous record held by Australia’s Pat Cummins.

“It was probably the best day of my life again. To get a five-for on debut is a dream come true,” Ahmed told the BBC.

“I have bowled better balls and not got wickets. To get Babar Azam out is a dream come true. He is a very good player.

“I liked the Rizwan wicket because I have been working hard on my leg-spin for the last two months with bowling coach Jeetan Patel. To get one to spin a little bit was great.”

Having bowled out Pakistan for 216 in the second innings, England are chasing a target of 167.

They will resume at 112-2 later on Tuesday, needing 55 runs to win the Test and become the first test team to complete a 3-0 whitewash in Pakistan, having won the first two tests in Rawalpindi and Multan.

After an explosive opening stand of 93 runs, Abrar Ahmed finally got the breakthrough for Pakistan after trapping Zak Crawley in front of the stumps. The right-hander scored run-a-ball 41 with the help of seven fours.

Ahmed, who was sent in as nightwatchman, became Abrar’s second wicket after scoring 10 runs.

At the close of play, Ben Duckett and Ben Stokes were unbeaten on 50 and 10 runs respectively.

Earlier, England were set a target of 167 runs to win the third and final Test after dismissing Pakistan for 216 in their second innings.

Skipper Babar Azam scored 54 and Saud Shakeel 53.

Babar became the first Pakistani in six years to score 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year and the fourth batter to reach the milestone in 2022 during the second innings.

He is the sixth Pakistani batter to reach 1,000 in a year, crossing the total when he reached 45 during an innings that ended on 54.

Babar and Shakeel added 110 runs for the fourth wicket to put Pakistan in a decent position but the former’s dismissal, when the score had reached 164, started a collapse with the home being bowled out for 216.

Pakistan lost their last seven wickets in the second innings while adding only 52 runs.

Despite Babar’s solid form, Pakistan are staring at a first-ever 3-0 series whitewash on home soil.

England won the first Test by 74 runs in Rawalpindi and the second in Multan by 26 runs.

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