Pakistan’s Babar Azam was in comparison with India’s Virat Kohli as one of many world’s main batsmen after his unbeaten fifty on the opening day of the primary Test in opposition to England on Wednesday. When dangerous mild pressured an early shut at Old Trafford, Pakistan have been 139-2, with Babar 69 not out and Shan Masood unbeaten on 46. But left-handed opener Masood was twice missed on 45 by England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler both aspect of a prolonged rain break, with off-spinner Dom Bess the unfortunate bowler on each events. The prolific Babar has now reached a half-century in 5 successive Test innings, along with his earlier 5 matches yielding 4 tons of.
“If this lad was Virat Kohli, everybody could be speaking about it however as a result of it’s Babar Azam, nobody is speaking about it,” mentioned former England captain Nasser Hussain whereas commentating for Sky Sports.
“He’s young, he’s elegant, he’s got all the swagger,” he added.
“They keep going on about the ‘Fab Four (Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England captain Joe Root) — it’s the ‘Fab Five’ and Babar Azam is in that.”
England coach Chris Silverwood mentioned: “We know we’re up against a very good batsman.”
Pakistan have been 43-2 when Babar got here in after captain Azhar Ali, who had received the toss, fell lbw for a duck to Chris Woakes.
– Stylish Babar –
Babar began cautiously however after lunch he unfurled an array of fashionable attacking photographs en path to a 70-ball fifty that includes 9 fours.
He struck categorical paceman Jofra Archer down the bottom earlier than driving Bess for one more boundary to carry up Pakistan’s hundred.
Bess, nonetheless, ought to have eliminated Masood for 45 when he took the left-hander’s exterior edge however Buttler dropped the prospect.
When play resumed within the early night after a protracted rain delay, Root was quickly bowling his occasional off-breaks in tandem with Bess to attempt to maintain the match going below gray skies after Archer had pitched brief to Babar.
But even with two spinners bowling and the floodlights on, the umpires nonetheless known as a halt at 6:12 pm (1712 GMT) earlier than the bottom was bathed in sunshine quickly afterwards.
There was nonetheless time, nonetheless for Buttler to overlook stumping Masood after the batsman charged down the pitch.
The errors will revive dialogue in regards to the wicketkeeper’s place within the aspect with Ben Foakes, arguably a superior gloveman, ready within the wings.
“The game is pretty funny…you get an element of fortune every now and then,” mentioned Masood.
Silverwood defended Buttler by saying: “No one means to miss them. He’s very capable of doing something very special for us tomorrow.”
The circumstances favoured England’s four-man tempo assault, who had been concerned in final month’s 2-1 collection win over the West Indies, accomplished at Old Trafford.
But Azhar’s resolution to bat first was comprehensible given Pakistan are enjoying two leg-spinners in Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, who’re anticipated to be simpler on a carrying pitch.
“We always knew the new ball was going to be a struggle in England,” mentioned Masood after batting for almost three-and-half hours in opposition to the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Woakes and Archer.
“It’s not an easy gig being an opening batsman in this country but with it comes an opportunity to give the team a good start, especially when you bat first.”
Masood and fellow opener Abid Ali did properly to outlive the primary hour earlier than Archer struck by bowling Abid with a full-length ball having made him cautious of coming ahead with a number of short-pitched deliveries.
As was the case in the course of the West Indies collection, the three-match marketing campaign is going down behind closed doorways on well being grounds, with Pakistan denied the colourful and vocal assist they normally take pleasure in in England.
Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan hit out on the early stoppage for dangerous mild.
“I can’t get my head round the fact TV companies are paying a huge amount of money, fans are watching the only Test cricket going on in the world from home, yet we’ve lost out on so much cricket,” he informed BBC’s Test Match Special.
“There were two off-spinners bowling and we went off for bad light. It just doesn’t make sense. When is Test cricket going to learn?”
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