ENGLAND cricketers will be given a hero's welcome when they arrive home today after completing an historic win in Pakistan.

The five wicket victory - which was clinched in near darkness - made them the first English team to win a Test match in Pakistan for 39 years.

After dismissing Pakistan for their lowest ever total on home soil against England, they overcame the loss of three early wickets and their opponents' go-slow tactics.

It was Pakistan's first Test defeat at the National Stadium, in Karachi.

The stunning result was England's sixth victory from 12 Tests this year, and their third successive series win after summer successes against Zimbabwe and the West Indies.

Nasser Hussain's side were given little chance of emulating the success of Ted Dexter's 1961 side on wickets prepared to help Pakistan's spin bowling attack.

But it was England spinner Ashley Giles who exploited the conditions. His 17 victims made him England's record wicket-taker in a series in Pakistan.

Pakistan tried to halt England's victory charge by slowing down the over rate.

But top scorer Graham Thorpe hit the winning runs in gathering gloom, with Hussain at the other end.

Amid hopes of a English cricketing revival, Hussain is now 3-1 to lead his country to victory against Australia in the summer, and 8-1 to land next year's BBC TV Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Day of drama- Back Page

Comment - Page