Five bowlers took two wickets apiece as Pakistan’s middle order collapsed from
124-3 to 125-7 in just 23 balls and England, who had declared on 445-6, closed out a 141-run triumph.
It means England lead 2-1 heading into the final match at the Kia Oval this week, where another could see them ascend to No1 in the Test rankings if results elsewhere go their way.
Read more: Pakistan should beware gritty England
“We seemed to be behind pretty much most of the game, hanging in there, and then when we got the chance to win the game, we were fantastic,” said Cook.
“We fought really hard. I did say at the beginning, probably at tea time, I thought it would be a first innings versus fourth innings. The heavy roller took a bit more out of it than I thought, so at the end of day two it was looking a bit ropey.
“But it showed great character from the guys to come back and bowl like we did and for them not to get too much of a lead. We batted really well in the third innings of the game.”
Cook was one of five England batsmen to hit half-centuries, along with Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and man-of-the-match Moeen Ali, before the hosts handed over to the bowlers.
They looked up against it when Sami Aslam’s 70 helped Pakistan to progress to
79-1, but Steven Finn inspired a middle-order collapse and victory was secured when Sohail Khan was caught by Moeen.
Cook’s men are now guaranteed at least a draw in the series and could go top of the Test rankings depending on results between Sri Lanka and Australia and the West Indies and India.