Pakistan captain Ali fails as England strike early in Manchester
MANCHESTER – Captain Azhar Ali was out for a duck as Pakistan limped to 53 for two under floodlights and heavy skies at lunch on day one of the first test against England on Wednesday.
Ali was trapped leg before wicket by seamer Chris Woakes, a poor start to the series for one of Pakistan’s key batsman, as the hosts kept a disciplined line and length after being asked to field first at Old Trafford.
Opener Shan Masood (27 not out) and Babar Azam (4 not out) will resume in the second session, seeking to put some pressure back on the home bowlers, who beat the bat with regularity.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer claimed the first scalp, bowling Abid Ali (16) with a superb delivery that nipped back at the opener, who pushed halfway forward.
Archer had pegged Ali back in his previous over with some short balls that left the batsman tentative to get onto the front foot, which proved his undoing.
England have named an unchanged side from the one that defeated West Indies by 269 runs last week, though key all-rounder Ben Stokes is unlikely to be used much with the ball due to a quad injury.
Pakistan have gone with three seam bowlers, including young firebrands Shaheen Afridi, 20, and Naseem Shah, 17, who are likely to play a key role in the series with their pace and movement.
They have also selected the leg-spin duo of Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah, and with the wicket already showing some sign of wear, they could be crucial in the fourth innings if Pakistan can get enough runs.
The tourists last won a test series in England in 1996, though three of the five since have been drawn, including their last two visits in 2016 and 2018.