England vs Pakistan 1st Test
By Megha Mallick
England host Pakistan in a three match test series, under the World Test Championship. This is the first time that Pakistan are playing international cricket after the coronavirus-induced break. England will, on the other hand, ride on their series win over West Indies and would like to continue the winning stride. The series begins at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first. They played two spinners in Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, but kept out Mohammed Amir. Amidst thoughts of Ben Stokes playing or not, he was included in the squad.
After getting a good start against James Anderson, Abid Ali was bowled by Jofra Archer for 16. The rain stopped play as showers came down in the middle just after the wicket. Pakistan were at 36/1.
Azhar Ali was caught LBW by Chris Woakes for a duck. Babar Azam and Shan Masood took Pakistan to 53/2 at lunch.
Azam smashed a six and then followed it up with a single, bringing up his fifty. At tea, Pakistan were at 121/2.
The players came back later for just 7.5 overs, but bad light meant England had to put in their spinners Dom Bess and captain Joe Root and Pakistan saw off their threat. By then, the visitors had reached 149/2 and stumps was called. Azam remained unbeaten on 69 while Masood is on 46. Their partnership is worth 96 runs, and they would look to take it further.
James Anderson struck in the first over as captain Joe Root caught Babar Azam for 69. Asad Shafiq (7) was caught by Ben Stokes off Stuart Broad.
Mohammed Rizwan (9) was caught behind off Chris Woakes. Shan Masood and Shadab Khan took Pakistan to lunch, at 187/5.
Post-lunch, Khan and Masood took the visitors past 200 quite soon. The latter brought up his century as Pakistan regained control of the match. They brought up their 250 with the batsmen taking quick singles and doubles.
Khan was caught by Root off Dom Bess for 45.
Yasir Shah (5) was caught LBW by Jofra Archer, and in the next ball, he picked up Mohammed Abbas for a duck. Masood was outstanding in the innings and took Pakistan to tea, at 312/8. He was caught LBW by Broad for 156 after the break. Naseem Shah was caught behind and Pakistan were all out for 326.
In reply, Rory Burns (4) was trapped on a straight one from Shaheen Afridi.
Dom Sibley (8) was caught LBW and Ben Stokes was bowled by Abbas for a duck. Yasir Shah broke the budding partnership between Root and Ollie Pope as the former was caught behind for 14. At stumps, England were at 92/4, trailing Pakistan by 235 runs.
Flicking one towards deep square leg and taking two runs, Ollie Pope brought up his fifth Test fifty within the first twenty minutes of the day’s play. Only 19 runs were scored in the first 14 overs. Pope was caught by Shadab Khan off Naseem Shah for 62.
There was a slight delay in play as Chris Woakes underwent concussion protocols and had his helmet checked, after Shah welcomed him with a hit on his head. At lunch, England were at 159/5, 67 runs were scored at the expense of a single wicket in 24 overs in the first session.
After lunch, Yasir Shah got the wickets of Jos Buttler (38) and Chris Woakes (19), who were bowled out, and Dom Bess (1), who was caught by Asad Shafiq. Jofra Archer was caught behind off Shadab Khan for 16. He also caught James Anderson (7) LBW and the DRS could not save the latter. England were all out for 219.
In reply, Shan Masood, the centurion from the first innings, was caught behind off Stuart Broad for a duck. At tea, Pakistan were at 20/1.
Abid Ali was caught by Woakes off Bess for 20. Woakes struck twice, with the wickets of Babar Azam (5) and Azhar Ali (18). Shafiq was run out by Dominic Sibley for 27. Mohammed Rizwan (27) was caught LBW off Ben Stokes. Khan was trapped LBW by Broad for 15.
Pakistan at 137/8, at stumps on the third day, are leading England by 244 runs, with Yasir Shah and two tail enders left. The last session belonged to the hosts, who ripped through the visitors’ batting line up.
Yasir Shah started off with a mini-rampage, but was soon caught behind off Stuart Broad for 33. Jofra Archer got the final wicket of Naseem Shah (4) but Pakistan had by then scored 32 runs in 16 balls on the fourth day to set England a 277-run target to chase down.
In the second innings, Rory Burns was caught LBW by Mohammed Abbas for 10 runs. Joe Root and Dominic Sibley did a good job after the first dismissal and at lunch England were 55/1, requiring 222 more to win.
Sibley was caught by Asad Shafiq off Yasir Shah for 36. Root fell to Naseem Shah after a well-made 42. Ben Stokes (9) was caught behind off Yasir Shah.
Shadab Khan caught Ollie Pope (7) off Shaheen Afridi. Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler then put up a brilliant counter-attacking partnership after the four quick wickets to bring England back into the game. At tea, they were at 167/5, needing 110 runs to win.
Buttler brought up his 17th Test half century, and Woakes brought up his with a boundary. They brought up a 100-run partnership in 123 balls. The duo put up 117 for the sixth wicket before Yasir Shah caught Buttler LBW for 75 and Broad for 7. Woakes hit the final boundary through the slips to bring up England’s victory by 3 wickets. He was adjudged the MoM.
The second test starts on August 13 at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground in Southampton.