Pakistan’s Babar Azam underlined his standing as one of many world’s main batsmen with a high-quality unbeaten fifty towards England on an interrupted opening day of the primary Test at Old Trafford on Wednesday. When dangerous gentle pressured an early shut, Pakistan had 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, together with his earlier 5 matches yielding 4 a whole lot.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, commentating for Sky Sports, mentioned Babar might be thought-about alongside gamers similar to India captain Virat Kohli.
“If this lad was Virat Kohli, everyone would be talking about it but because it is Babar Azam, no one is talking about it,” mentioned Hussain.
“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.”
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 underneath gray skies after Jofra Archer had pitched quick to Babar.
But even with two spinners bowling and the floodlights on, the umpires nonetheless referred to as a halt at 6:12 pm (1712 GMT).
Pakistan had been 43-2 when Babar got here in to bat after captain Azhar Ali, who had gained the toss, fell lbw for a duck to Chris Woakes.
Babar began cautiously however after the lunch interval, he unfurled an array of trendy attacking photographs.
He struck categorical paceman Archer down the bottom for 4 earlier than driving Bess for an additional boundary to deliver up Pakistan’s hundred.
Bess, nevertheless, ought to have eliminated Masood for 45 when he took the left-hander’s exterior edge however Buttler dropped the possibility.
Then, following the rain delay, Buttler missed an opportunity to stump Masood after the batsman charged down the pitch.
The errors will revive dialogue concerning the wicketkeeper’s place within the aspect with Ben Foakes, arguably a superior gloveman, ready within the wings.
Babar drew degree on 45 not out with Masood, who was on 22 when the right-hander got here into bat, happening to finish a powerful 70-ball fifty, together with 9 boundaries.
The circumstances favoured England’s four-man tempo assault, who had been concerned in final month’s 2-1 sequence win over the West Indies, accomplished at Old Trafford.
In distinction, Pakistan’s preparations for the three-match sequence amounted to simply two intra-squad warm-up video games.
Masood and fellow opener Abid Ali did effectively to outlive the primary hour earlier than Archer struck.
Having examined Abid with a number of short-pitched deliveries, the paceman bowled him with a full-length ball for 16 earlier than Azhar was lbw to a Woakes nip-backer for a six-ball duck.
England haven’t gained a Test sequence towards Pakistan since 2010 they usually got here into this match having misplaced the sequence opener in every of their previous 5 campaigns towards all opponents.
As was the case in the course of the West Indies sequence, 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 get pleasure from in England.
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