Flawless Pakistan take the honours on first day of the Lord's Test against England

Pakistan team management can be proud of the fact that its players produced a near perfect performance – with bat, ball and in the field – on the opening day of the Lord’s Test match. At times one had to pinch one’s self to check as it was really taking place. The type of discipline, not so readily associated with Pakistan cricket and today joyfully admired by the two legendry fast bowlers, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, now both working in the media.

SCORECARD

Lord’s Test – 1st day  Report

England 184. Pakistan 50/1.

Even a loss of toss did not matter much as Sarfraz Ahmed was going to bowl anyway, in overcast conditions. The four-man pace attack – Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali – responded brilliantly by making the most of seam movement on offer. Bowling coach, Azhar Mahmood, perhaps one of the shrewdest brains not to captain his country, watched his pupil doing the business, without compromising their natural aggression.

Gujranwala-born Hasan, with his skiddy pace, clearly belongs on the international stage and creates that buzz, so vital to lift the side. His opening spell of 2-18 off 7 overs set the tone with fellow paceman Abbas, more of an English-type seamer with an open-chested action, combining accuracy and penetration. Four wickets apiece was a just reward for the two, on a day with hardly any fielding lapses.

England’s batting woes continue to haunt them and had it not been for the mental strength of its elderly statesman, Alastair Cook, who contributed a fighting 70, it might have struggled to reach 150. The long-serving Essex opener, reached another milestone as he equalled the record of Australian Allan Border’s record of 153 consecutive Test appearances. A remarkable run which takes one to the day yours truly and my 11-year old son spotting him at Heathrow Airport and wished him all the best, as he embarked on his maiden international tour to India in the 2005-06 winter. 

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