Sport Shan and deliver - Pakistan attack cash in on opener's heroics
Pakistan's Babar Azam hits sublime half-century to frustrate England
He hit nine boundaries as he reached 52 not out in just 71 balls, almost every one of them imperious, as he set about proving all of the praise he has garnered in recent months is well placed. The players were forced off the field by a shower just before 3pm and would have welcomed the chance to regroup after Babar's onslaught.As well as stalling England's progress his efforts also placed Shan Masood in the shade, the opener having ground out a valuable 45 not out across more than three hours.
Pakistan's sparkling and lethal bowling attack left England reeling at the end of day two after Shan Masood's excellent century put the tourists in charge of the first Test.
Star batsman Babar Azam was removed by James Anderson without adding to his overnight 69 as England checked Pakistan's day-one momentum with impressive discipline during the morning session.
But the indefatigable Masood remained and found a willing ally in Shadab Khan (45) before the century-maker became the ninth man to fall, making 156 out of 326 all out.
Brilliant Babar and wasteful Buttler give Pakistan the edge at Old Trafford
Only 49 overs were bowled on day one of the Test series at Old Trafford, with Babar Azam lighting up a gloomy day.The tourists were 43-2 at one stage after Abid Ali and Azhar Ali, who had opted to bat after winning the toss, were dismissed by Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes respectively at Old Trafford.
New ball pair Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas then removed England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley cheaply, both lbw, before Abbas cleaned up Ben Stokes for a duck with a sensational delivery.
We have lost three early wickets against the new ball.
Scorecard/Clips:— England Cricket (@englandcricket)
Captain Joe Root's 58-ball stay yielded 14 runs before he was out caught behind, cutting leg-spinner Yasir Shah, meaning the bulk of England's hopes rested with Ollie Pope (46 not out) as they closed on 92-4 – 234 in arrears.
After an underwhelming Wednesday outing on his home ground, Anderson (1-63) was bang on the money in the first over of the day and tempted Babar into a drive he edged to Root at first slip.
Stokes strikes as England prepare for Old Trafford chase
England will face a testing run chase in the first Test against Pakistan, but Ben Stokes gave them fresh hope of pulling off an opening win.Picked just as a batsman for this match due to a niggling thigh injury, Stokes made a frustrating duck in England's first innings, but he stepped out of the slips to take the ball and pick up two prized Pakistan wickets.
Broad (3-54) accounted for Asad Shafiq in similar fashion, with Stokes the catcher, and the similarly assured Chris Woakes (2-43) had Mohammad Rizwan caught behind by Jos Buttler, who endured an otherwise torrid innings with the gloves.
England had a sniff of Pakistan's vulnerable lower order but Shadab put on 105 for the sixth wicket with Shan, who reached a fourth Test century, and third in as many outings, off 251 deliveries.
Shadab slapped Dom Bess to Root at midwicket with 50 in sight, which was Shan's cue to put his foot down as Jofra Archer (3-59) and Broad split the tail between them – the latter having implored in inimitable fashion for the centurion's scalp.
Shaheen's pace and Abbas' wily precision got Pakistan quickly stuck into the England middle order, with Stokes losing his stumps when driving at a majestic delivery that decked away from him.
Pope found a fluency that eluded his captain, meeting the challenge of considerable speed and skill with a nicely judged counter-attack he must now build substantially upon.
Wahab Riaz included in Pakistan's 20-man squad for England Tests
Pakistan have cut their touring party to 20 for the Test series against England, which starts in Manchester next week.The tourists have whittled down their 29-man touring party for the three-match campaign, which begins on August 5 at Old Trafford.
SHAN BANISHES ENGLISH TORMENT
On his previous tour of England in 2016, Shan fell in each of his six innings to Anderson for a sum of 71 runs. England's four-pronged pace attack were no doubt licking their lips under grey skies on Wednesday, but a day later Shan remained – the insatiable work ethic that has turned his career around in evidence. His Test best followed 100 against Bangladesh last time out and 135 versus Sri Lanka in Karachi last December – a run that amounts to an unforeseen purple patch.
1 - Shan Masood (— OptaJim (@OptaJim) ) has just posted his highest Test innings score (156). Composition.
PAKISTAN ALL OVER ENGLAND
The relentless examination sent England's way this Manchester evening suggests every facet of their batting department will be thoroughly tested throughout the series. Shaheen brings the sort of whippy left-arm pace that feels almost unfair when paired with a shiny Dukes ball, while Abbas' high action close to the stumps ensures batsmen have little respite.
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Tearaway teenage quick Naseem Shah went wicketless, but don't expect that to happen too often. His absorbing battle with Pope felt like a glorious future for this grand old game unfolding before our eyes. Yasir fell short of matching the seamers' work, particularly by his own high standards. Root's wicket was a decent consolation.
BUTTLER HANGS IN FOR SHOT AT REDEMPTION
Understandably more circumspect than Pope, Buttler reached the close on 15 not out. After missing three chances behind the stumps – two catches either side of a stumping, all to the frustration of Bess and twice granting lives to Shan – in Pakistan's innings, it once again feels like the white-ball superstar needs substantial runs to keep a firm grip on his place in the longest format.
Video: "Joe Root: England to make late decision on Ben Stokes' fitness" (Evening Standard)
England win Old Trafford thriller as Buttler and Woakes repel Pakistan .
England recorded their 10th highest run chase in Test cricket to prevail at the expense of Pakistan at Old Trafford.The sixth-wicket pairing combined in a match-winning stand worth 139 to help Joe Root's side triumph against the odds in Manchester.