Babar Azam gave Pakistan the momentum on the rain-hit Day 1 of the first Test against England with an unbeaten knock of 69 runs at Old Trafford on Wednesday. The day, which saw most of the third session being washed off, ended with Pakistan batting at 139/2.
Babar will resume the second day’s play along side Shan Masood, who held the other end yesterday with a resilient innings of 46 runs off 152 deliveries. The duo have added 96 runs for the third wicket so far.
Pakistan’s number four had joined Masood in the post-lunch session when the visitors were pushed into the corner by the England bowlers. Opener Abid Ali (16 runs off 37 deliveries) was sent back to the pavilion cheaply, while skipper Azhar Ali had failed to disturb the scorers.
Babar got off the mark in the second session with a four off the first ball he faced from James Anderson. He hardly ever looked fussed throughout his free flowing innings in the second session.
Masood, at the other end, proved to be an able ally as he weathered the initial storm of the English attack before holding on to his wicket throughout the day.
England had a chance at breaking the partnership when Masood got a feather touch on a delivery that spun away from off stump from Dom Bess. Jos Buttler however failed to hold on to it and Masood’s vigil continued.
Two overs later, Babar got to his half century in just 70 balls. Only one ball could be bowled by Jofra Archer in the over after that before the umpires called the players off due to bad light. Rain soon followed and early Tea was called.
Earlier, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes bowled with venom and snared two wickets to disturb Pakistan’s watchful start as they reached 53/2 at Lunch.
Electing to bat first, the tourists were off to a steady start as openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali put away the early threat from veteran new-ball bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
England captain Joe Root introduced the slippery Archer and it worked as the gun-quick rattled Ali’s stumps with a full delivery after setting him up with a barrage of bouncers in the previous over. Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali soon joined the opener as he was trapped in front by Woakes, failing to open his account.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 139/2 (Babar Azam 69*, Shan Masood 46*; Woakes 1/14) vs England
With IANS inputs