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PHOTOS: Azam punishes sloppy England in 1st Test

Last updated on: August 06, 2020 00:32 IST
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Images from Day 1 of the first Test match between England and Pakistan in Manchester, on Wednesday.

Scorecard

Pakistan's Babar Azam is elegance personified as he bats en route a half-century

IMAGE: Pakistan's Babar Azam is elegance personified as he bats en route a half-century. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Babar Azam struck a fluent unbeaten half-century as Pakistan closed a rain-shorted first day of the first test against England on 139 for two at a gloomy and wet Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Babar (69 not out) showed all his skill and class to weather an early storm from the England bowlers, and wrestle away the initiative along with the more sedate opener Shan Masood (46 not out).

 

England were superb before lunch, heading into the interval with Pakistan on 53 for two, but wayward and tepid after the break as the tourists piled on 68 runs in 16.1 overs before rain brought an early tea.

England's Jos Buttler misses the stumping of Pakistan's Shan Masood

IMAGE: England's Jos Buttler misses the stumping of Pakistan's Shan Masood. Photograph: Lee Smith/Pool via Getty Images

The players came back late in the day for 7.5 overs, but bad light meant England had to bowl spinners Dom Bess and Joe Root, and Pakistan were able to see off their threat.

The closest the home side came to a wicket was a stumping chance for Jos Buttler against Shan off Bess, but the bounce of the ball eluded the wicketkeeper and the left-hander survived.

Earlier, Babar Azam struck a fluent unbeaten half-century as Pakistan moved to 121 for two at tea following a session cut short by rain on day one of the first Test against England at a gloomy Old Trafford on Wednesday.

It was a profitable period before the break for the tourists, who resumed with the imperious Azam (52 not out) and opener Shan Masood (45 not out) having won the toss and elected to bat.

Shan Masood plays a cut shot as England's Jos Buttler watches

IMAGE: Shan Masood plays a cut shot as England's Jos Buttler watches. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB

The pair were able to up the scoring rate after lunch, adding 68 runs in 16.1 overs before rain forced them from the field.

It was chalk and cheese from the first session, where England's bowlers beat the bat almost at will and picked up the wickets of captain Azhar Ali for a duck, trapped leg before wicket by Chris Woakes, and Abid Ali (16), who was bowled by Jofra Archer.

England had found the right line and length then, but were wayward after lunch and Azam, the key player in the Pakistan batting line-up, was able to capitalise as he moved to his half-century from 70 balls with nine fours.

Jofra Archer

IMAGE: England’s Jofra Archer celebrates with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes after taking the wicket of Abid Ali of Pakistan during Day One of the 1st Test between England and Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford on Wednesday. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB

Earlier, Captain Azhar Ali was out for a duck as Pakistan limped to 53 for two under floodlights and heavy skies at lunch on day one of the first Test against England on Wednesday.

Ali was trapped leg before wicket by seamer Chris Woakes, a poor start to the series for one of Pakistan’s key batsman, as the hosts kept a disciplined line and length after being asked to field first at Old Trafford.

 
Abid Ali
IMAGE: Pakistan’s Abid Ali is bowled by Jofra Archer. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Fast bowler Jofra Archer claimed the first scalp, bowling Abid Ali (16) with a superb delivery that nipped back at the opener, who pushed halfway forward.

Archer had pegged Ali back in his previous over with some short balls that left the batsman tentative to get onto the front foot, which proved his undoing.

England have named an unchanged side from the one that defeated West Indies by 269 runs last week, though key all-rounder Ben Stokes is unlikely to be used much with the ball due to a quad injury.

Chris Woakes

IMAGE: England’s Chris Woakes appeals successfully for the wicket of Azhar Ali of Pakistan. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB

Pakistan have gone with three seam bowlers, including young firebrands Shaheen Afridi, 20, and Naseem Shah, 17, who are likely to play a key role in the series with their pace and movement.

They have also selected the leg-spin duo of Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah, and with the wicket already showing some sign of wear, they could be crucial in the fourth innings if Pakistan can get enough runs.

The tourists last won a Test series in England in 1996, though three of the five since have been drawn, including their last two visits in 2016 and 2018.

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