England produced a limp batting display to crumble to defeat by 127 runs in the third Test against Pakistan, losing the three-match series 2-0 in Sharjah. Yasir Shah took 4 for 44 as the tourists were bowled out for just 156 in pursuit of 284 to win, a total they never looked like reached after a dramatic middle-order collapse during the fifth morning of the game.
Joe Root (6), James Taylor (2), Jonny Bairstow (0) and Samit Patel (0) fell for just 11 runs in the space of 31 balls to put Pakistan on the brink, before Adil Rashid (22) became the fifth scalp of a damaging opening session for the visitors, who were 120 for 7 at lunch with Cook unbeaten on 50. The skipper continued to carry his bat until Shoaib Malik marked his final Test appearance with his third wicket.
By now England's pursuit of a victory total was in tatters and it was left to Shah to polish off the innings with the stumping of Ben Stokes (12) wrapping up victory and claiming another series win in the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan remain unbeaten. Trevor Bayliss' side may have gone toe-to-toe with a Pakistan side who have now risen to number two in the Test world rankings, but key lapses in critical sessions through the series saw them comfortably defeated.
"We competed really well in all three of the games but at critical moments we couldn't dominate Pakistan, they are very resilient," Cook said. "We are lucky to have Jimmy [Anderson] and Stuart Broad, they are outstanding, but we have a very good seam attack. Losing Ben [Stokes] really hurt us, our seamers have done well to contain Pakistan. International cricket isn't just about learning, it is about getting results, and we weren't good enough at key moments."
Following the three-match Test series, England face Pakistan in four one-day internationals and three T20 matches running until the end of November, in preparation for the Twenty20 Word Cup taking place in India early next year. An 11-match duel with South Africa across all three formats follows in the winter.