The England bowlers came to their true colours in just the 21 overs that were played on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The touring batsmen did not seem to have any answer to the questions posed by the English pacers. But Pakistan’s misery was cut short by rain as they ended Thursday’s play at 121/5.
The start of the day’s first session was also delayed by the showers and play had to stopped once again after the start. But when it finally got underway, the English attack was all over the Pakistani top-order.
The visitors lost captain Azhar Ali, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq and Fawad Alam, who was making his comeback into Test cricket after an absence of 11 years.
Following opener Shan Masood’s departure in the third over off James Anderson’s delivery, Abid Ali and skipper Azhar Ali had looked to steady the ship.
The duo were successful to a fair extent. But after the restart, Pakistani intent lied shattered on the ground. Abid was the first to walk back to the pavilion after having played a gritty knock of 60 runs off 11 deliveries.
One of his many edges landed in the hands of Rory Burns at slips off the bowling of Sam Curran. Asad Shafiq replaced him but did not last long, succumbing to Broad off the 13th ball that he faced as he reached out for a wide delivery and edged it to third slip.
Meanwhile, Azhar soon fell to James Anderson when one of the many edges that he had got finally flew high enough for a fielder at slip to hold on to. A little under three overs later, the umpires called the players off as rain started pouring down on the stadium.
Veteran Fawad Alam, who was making his Test comeback after 11 years, continued on his wait to score another Test run. His stay at the crease lasted only four deliveries as Chris Woakes trapped him in front for an LBW. Even though on-field umpjre had declared him not-out, a successful review by England sent Fawad back for a duck.
In this time, Babar had put together 25 in 51 balls. At the end of the day, Mohammad Rizwan gives him company with four off five.
Earlier Abid and Pakistan captain Azhar Ali knuckled down against some sharp pace bowling and helped Pakistan reach 62/1 at Lunch
Brief scores: Pakistan 126/5 (Abid Ali 60, Babar Azam 25*; James Anderson 2/35) vs England