Pakistan England Test Series
1st Test Played at Old Trafford , Manchester (August 5 to August 9)
Pakistan 139/2 in 49 Overs (Babar Azam 69*, Shan Masood 46*, Abid Ali 16, CR Woakes 1/14, JC Archer 1/23)
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat.
Rain interrupted first days play of the first test between touring Pakistan and host England at Emirates Stadium , Old Trafford , Manchester made possible only 49 overs play.
When stumps were drawn early for bad lights Pakistan was looking good scoring 139/2. Top quality Pakistan top order batting talent Babar Azam was batting on very impr4essive 69 and his partner patient over was on well compiled 46. The third wicket pair already laid a solid foundation of the very important first innings of first test with unbroken 96.
We can not conclude anything from here. But on a dry looking wicket and the warm weather forecasted Pakistan can move into a commanding position if they can produce 350 plus runs. With a trio of penetrative pace bowlers – raw pace of teenagers Shahin Shah Afridi, Nasim Shah and controlled movement of matured Abbas Pakistan can make early inroads into English batting. Two international class leg spinners (rare breed) Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan may prove very difficult dealing with by English batsmen in the fourth Innings.
Whatever is the outcome of this match, I admire Pakistan team management (Misbah, Yunis Khan, Mustaq Ahmed, and Waqar Yunus ) for selecting a very aggressive playing XI. In these days usually the first priority of a team is playing safe stuffing the team with 7 batsman and 4 front line bowlers. Pakistan has gone for three quality pacers and two match winning leg spinning option. They possibly listened to what great Wasim was suggesting during innings break of the last ODI match between England and Ireland. Wasim was suggesting for going with their best team. We believe that the playing XI Pakistan selected is the best team at the moment.They have already proved a far better batting unit in whatever little seen of them.
Azhar Ali did not hesitate for a moment opting to bat after winning the toss. We must say the captains winning the toss in all the recent three tests between West Indies and England made .strategic mistakes.
England retained its winning combination of series defining third test . Broad, Andesron , Archer and Woakes constitute their attack with Ben Stokes having a 50-50 chance of bowling if required . Pakistan openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali dealt with the new ball attack of Broad and Anderson much better than the West Indians. They left most of the balls pitched in the corridor of uncertainties and defended mostly with straight bat often coming forward. Shan Masood was dropped twice by Buttler though not very easy chances. But he showed strong character and sound defense. Abid Ali was also looking good till the partnership reached 36. Archer beating him with pace had him clean bowled at 16.
Azhars flawed technique of get square early in his innings was exploited by accurate Woakes having him plumb in front for a duck Babar Azom entered the scene. He is regarded as a new generation Javed Miandad having solid technique and skills. He looked a bit tentative at the start. But once settled he played some scintillating and graceful strokes. His square cut had the hallmark of Zaheer Abbas as well. On the other hand Shan Masood survived and demonstrated patience and guts. The pair put on impressive 96 and still looked hungry for more when days play was called off with Pakistan looking good at 139/2. This pair with Asad Shafique, Rizwan and Shadab slotted at 5,6 and 7 Pakistan can get up to 400 even. If they do Pakistan will be at the drivers seat at stumps of day two. The ball is 49 overs old. Batting on day two on sun shinning Old Trafford may go much in the favor of the tourists. We are sure cricket admirers will like to witness how two teenage prodigies Shahin Shah and Nasim Shah test the skills and class of English batsmen and how England plays Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan? Hope rain stays away letting cricket proceed uninterrupted.
Pakistan: Shan Masood , Abid Ali , Azar Ali ( Captain ) , Babar Azam, Asad Shafique , Mohammad ( WK) Rizwan , Shadab Khan , Mohammad Abbas , Yasir Ali, Shahin Shah Afridi and Nasim Shah
England: Don Sibley, Rory Burns, Joe Roots (Captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (WK), Chris Woakes, Don Bess, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and James Anderson.
BDST: 1231 HRS, AUG 06, 2020