Shan Masood and Babar Azam made it Pakistan’s day as the tourists embarked promisingly on the tour of England in Manchester on the first day. While rain was a constant pet peeve for the fans and players, Babar Azam and Shan Masood did not perturb against the reputed pace attack of England, comprising of the four pacers that demolished the West Indies a week ago here. Shan Masood and Abid Ali survived several close shaves as Stuart Broad and James Anderson could not get their lengths consistently right.
They catapulted themselves to 36 in 15 overs before Jofra Archer, in his second over sent back Ali with a full-swinging delivery, knocking the off-stump. The visiting captain Azhar Ali survived only five deliveries without opening his account before Chris Woakes trapped him on the pads. Azhar also wasted a review for what looked as dead stoned. Woakes greeted Pakistan’s wonder boy Babar Azam as Pakistan scampered to 53-2 at lunch.
Babar Azam punishes England’s bowlers:
After lunch, as Nasser Hussain described, English bowlers were well below par. The pace bowlers got their lengths wrong multiple times as it was often too full, too wide, and on the pads. Azam did not stop on any of it and punished all the bowlers equally well, including stepping out on one of Dom Bess’ deliveries. Bess beat the defence of Shan Masood several times but was unsuccessful in buying the scalp.
As the visitors added 68 runs for no wicket after lunch, the rain kept the two sides out of the ground for more than an hour. After returning from a lengthy break, only seven overs were possible of which Jos Buttler missed a stumping chance off Bess to Masood in the 47th over. In 49 overs, Pakistan reached 149 with Babar and Shan unbeaten on 46 and 69 respectively and looking to kick-on and put England under pressure.