England vs Pakistan first Test Day 1 Highlights: Babar Azam half-century lights up rain-curtailed day

Catch the highlights from Day One of the first England vs Pakistan Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

SCORES×

Babar Azam celebrates his half-century. - REUTERS

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the first England vs Pakistan Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

 

. The day has been called off. Just 49 overs bowled out of the required 90. Babar Azam's nice strokes lit up the second session. Babar and Shan Masood have put on 96 runs for the third wicket. It will be Pakistan's day to savour, more than England's.

That's all from Day One. We'll be back on Thursday, for Day Two. Until then, it's goodbye.

. Bad light halts play. The umpires congregate on the ground.

. Babar Azam collects a couple of boundaries. First, he gets a full delivery on leg-stump and sweeps nicely, and in the next over, comes down the track to Dom Bess and smashes the ball down the ground. He moves on to 63. 139/2 after 49 overs.

. Shan Masood comes down the track to Dom Bess to smash the ball to oblivion, but he misses it, and the ball isn't collected by the keeper, so Masood survives. Babar comes down to his partner to have a word with him. 127/2 after 47 overs.

. Joe Root comes on to bowl, and he gives away two runs in the over. He bowls a leg-stump line to Babar Azam from around the wicket. Babar tucks him to leg. Shan Masood gently comes forward and plays the forward defence. 124/2.

. The umpire has a word with captain Joe Root, who hands over the ball to Dom Bess. Perhaps it's about the light, which isn't great; a fast bowler bowling at this time may not be acceptable.

. Archer finishes his over. Babar Azam awkwardly fends off a bouncer and picks a single. 122/2 in 42 overs.

. Play resumes. Owing to the rain delay, the day will be extended by half hour. Stumps at 11.30pm.

So the day hasn't ended yet. There will be a restart in five minutes' time.

As we await a verdict on the fate of the remainder of the day, we can just shift our attention for a brief while to another mouthwatering Test cricket rivalry that awaits us this year. Here's batsman Marnus Labuschagne looking forward to the Australia-India Test series in 2020-21.

Apparently, play cannot resume just yet, and so there will be another inspection at 5.30pm local time (2200 IST), according to ESPNcricinfo.

There's some reason to cheer, finally. According to ESPNcricinfo, the rain has stopped and there will be inspection of the pitch and the outfield by the umpires at 5pm local time (2130 IST).

Still no signs for a resumption of play.

Meanwhile, a unique thing that's happening in this Test series is that the front-foot no-balls are being called by the third umpire and not by the on-field umpire. It's a trial for this series; if it is deemed a success, it may be adopted in the World Test Championship.

A progressive step, since the takeover of technology can make it easier overall for everyone involved. In recent years, many wickets taken turn out to be off no-balls, after the bowlers and the fielding team have celebrated. It's a bit of a dampener certainly cricket can do without.

It's still raining. Perhaps this would be a good time for England to take stock of its bowling. There were numerous loose deliveries - short and wide ones, overpitched ones and those drifting to the pads for batsmen to flick away with confidence. This was certainly a factor in the shift in momentum in the second session, after the one-sided first.

Tea has been taken. Rain is falling down heavily in Manchester at the moment, but we'll still hope for some action.

A good session for Pakistan so far, with no wicket lost. Importantly, neither batsman looks vulnerable at the crease. Shan Masood has been stolid, while Babar Azam has been typically fluid. Babar's innings has been a treat to watch, full of lovely strokes. A stroke that stands out? The backfoot punch off James Anderson.

Cricket's in the news of course, but the cover story in this edition of our magazine has to do with football. It's a commemoration of the 100-year anniversary for the I-League club East Bengal. There are a number of other articles to savour as well. Subscribe and check out all our latest magazines here.

. The rain is back again. It had been overcast for some time after a brief spell of sunshine in the afternoon session. The covers for the pitch come on, and the players make their way out. The score: 121/2 in 41.1 overs.

Off-spinner Dom Bess has his hands on his head. - GETTY IMAGES

 

. The first six of the day, and Babar moves to 49 with it. He steps down the pitch to Dom Bess and deposits the ball beyond the boundary at deep midwicket. A single off the next delivery, off a drive, takes him to 50. 119/2 in 41 overs.

. Babar, however, continues serenely. He gets a short delivery outside off from Archer, and he firmly cuts it for another boundary. He moves to 42. Forty overs up, and it's drinks. 113/2.

. Amid the untroubled runmaking comes the odd nervy moment for Shan Masood. It's a full, fast delivery from Dom Bess, and he goes back to that but brings his bat down a little late; it eventually saves him, as the ball trickles away off the inside edge of the bat. Without the bat, he may have been dismissed bowled or lbw. A close shave.

And then, in the same over, he nearly edges one to slip. The score: 109/2.

. Masood also gets a boundary, a flick to square leg off Archer. He moves to 42. It's 104/2.

. Babar continues to dazzle. He gets a delivery from Dom Bess and he plays a nice drive through extra-cover to move to 34. In the same over, he plays another one, this time a little squarer. It brings up the 100 for Pakistan, and the third-wicket partnership has also crossed 50. 100/2.

. An interesting stroke from Babar. It's a good-length delivery from Archer, and it's away from his body, but he reaches out to the ball, and eventually plays a kind of on-drive with some wrist-work involved. It races away to the boundary. A quick single off the next delivery gets him to 30. The third-wicket partnership is worth 46 now. 90/2.

Shan Masood cuts away. - GETTY IMAGES

 

. A maiden over from Dom Bess. 85/2.

. Babar gets a full toss, and takes full toll off it, drives it serenely down the ground for a four. The bowler: Stuart Broad. 85/2.

. Dom Bess, the off-spinner, into the attack. He gives away two singles in his first over. It seems overcast at the moment; for all this while in the post-lunch session, the sun had been shining. 81/2.

. A flick off the legs, and it's another four. This time, it's Shan Masood. He takes a single as well, and moves to 36. It's 79/2 after 32 overs.

. Absolutely imperious, from Babar Azam. He gets a good-length delivery from Anderson, goes on to the back-foot and nicely punches it through extra cover. The ball races away to the boundary. Perhaps the best stroke in the day so far. 74/2 after 31.

. Masood calls for a single after playing a delivery to gully, and runs a few steps down the pitch, but comes back quickly. No run. It's the fourth maiden for Broad. The batsmen are no longer struggling to negotiate swinging deliveries, although plays and misses aren't far away; Broad's final delivery off the 30th over once again went past the bat without taking the edge. It's 69/2.

. Another boundary. Babar neatly flicks this one off his legs to deep midwicket. He tucks Anderson for two runs off the next delivery. 69/2 after 29.

. Masood moves to 31 with a nice cut through backward point for four. It's one of the rare authoritative strokes for runs in his innings. Broad 0-15 after eight overs. The score: 63/2 after 28.

. First boundary for Babar. Anderson drifts onto leg, and Babar clips it fine on the leg side for four. He moves to 8. Another single takes the total to 58/2 after 27 overs.

. The play and miss continues. The first ball is a good length ball, it goes past the bat of Masood en route to Buttler. It's a maiden, Masood safely negotiates the rest of the deliveries from Broad.

. We're back, for the post-lunch session. Broad to bowl the first over to Shan Masood.

Babar Azam drives. - REUTERS

 

It's a fine session for England. The potent pace attack managed to get two wickets, although it would have fancied making further inroads. Pakistan's openers provided resistance for the best part of the first hour, and Shan Masood has carried on defiantly, leaving deliveries alone frequently.

We'll be back after about half hour, for the second session.

. Woakes bowls a fine, probing over before lunch. Babar does well not to nick one. It's 53/2 after 25 overs.

. Babar gets a couple of nice half-volleys from Archer, but there's a short extra-cover in place, and the ball travels to him on both occasions. Then, Archer bowls a back-of-a-length delivery that narrowly goes past the outside edge of Babar. Later in the over, he gets a single and moves to 2. 51/2 in 24 overs.

. A loud shout for lbw by Chris Woakes and the English fielders. The ball seems to have pitched outside leg stump as it came in and struck the left-hander (Shan Masood) on his pads. And hawk-eye confirms it. Babar Azam gets off the mark with a quick single, and it's 50 up for Pakistan. The score: 50/2 after 23 overs.

. Meanwhile, Shan Masood continues leaving deliveries alone, until he gets a thickish outside edge off a fuller delivery from Woakes. Masood immediately turns around after edging, and the ball is in the air for some time, but it evades the third slip. The score: 48/2.

. Woakes dismisses Pakistan's captain! Azhar Ali thrusts his bat and his pad to an incoming delivery, and it hits the front pad of Azhar, who opts for the review after being given out, to no avail. The bat was far away from the ball, and it's not clear what made Azhar go for the review. He falls for a duck. Pakistan 44/2 after 19 overs. Babar Azam is the new batsman.

. A dab to third man for four. Shan Masood hangs his bat to a delivery outside the off-stump, and steers it away past third slip. 43/0 after 18 overs.

. Play resumes. Archer completes his over. 36/1 after 16.

. A rain interruption, in Manchester. The pitch has been covered, and teams walk back to their dressing rooms. The rain isn't heavy, so a quick resumption of action can be hoped for.

Azhar Ali walks back after being dismissed for a duck. - AP

 

. A breakthrough, at last for England! Jofra Archer bowls a good length delivery on off-stump, it swings in and goes through Abid Ali, who had been looking to drive it. The stumps are knocked over. Pakistan 36/1.

. First testing bouncer in the innings. Jofra Archer is the bowler; he bowls his first over, off which two singles are taken. The bouncer is directed at the head of Abid Ali, who just about manages to get out of the way, nearly falling to the ground in the process. 34/0 in 14 overs, and it's drinks.

. A maiden over from Chris Woakes. He bowls his usual back-of-a-length deliveries to Shan Masood, who carefully negotiates them. 32/0 in 13.

. Dark clouds hovering around the stadium. No rain yet, though.

. Two singles from another testing over from Stuart Broad, but no damage done. Off a delivery that came into the right hander, Abid Ali played an ungainly stroke, looking to drive it through extra cover; thankfully for him, he gets an inside edge to that. 32/0 in 12 overs.

. Chris Woakes into the attack. He settles in on a good length, and gives away a single, off the third ball, to Abid Ali. The score: 30/0 in 11 overs.

. Two boundaries coming from the latest over from Anderson. One nearly results in a catch; Rory Burns at gully leaps to take the catch after Abid Ali uncertainly pushes at a short-of-a-length delivery from Anderson. 27/0 in nine overs.

. An run-less over from Stuart Broad, who is attacking the stumps. After four seemingly innocuous deliveries, he bowls an accurate, probing one, getting the ball to narrowly evade the outside edge of the clueless batsman, Abid Ali.

 

. Another boundary, this time off the edge from the bat of Shan Masood. Anderson's delivery manages to get the elusive edge, but the ball goes past the slips cordon. Masood moves to 10.

. A short delivery from Broad, outside off-stump, and Masood appeared to be in two minds on whether to play at it or leave; judging by his eventual stroke, he looked to be shaping to leave it. But instead, he steers it past gully to the boundary. Pakistan 13/0 in six overs.

. Another probing over from Anderson. Masood gets an inside edge off a good length delivery on middle stump and then Abid Ali faces a near-perfect delivery from Anderson; he just about manages not to get an edge to that.

. Broad settling into a nice rhythm. He bowls a good length outside off-stump and Masood carefully leaves them all. Three slips and a wicketkeeper are waiting for the edge, but Masood avoids it, just about; on the final delivery, the ball narrowly evades the outside edge. 7/0 in four overs, the one run coming off a bye after Broad bowls a wayward first delivery.

. Anderson bowling beautifully. He gets a couple of deliveries to pitch slightly fuller than a good length, and Masood tentatively hangs his bat, the ball beats his outside edge through to Jos Buttler. Masood gets his first boundary, though, when he gets a tickle to fine leg. 6/0 in 3 overs.

. The first run on the board for Pakistan. Abid Ali pushes a delivery from Stuart Broad to the cover region and scampers across for a single. Masood lets a few deliveries go and eventually gets the mark on the fifth ball of the over, pushing a delivery to cover-point. 2/0 in 2 overs.

 

. A probing first over from Anderson. He gets some late outswing and Masood looks a little out of sorts and circumspect. No runs.

. James Anderson to start proceedings. He is bowling to Shan Masood.

. A moment of silence observed by both teams for the victims of COVID-19. The virus continues to claims lives; according to the John Hopkins University database, the tally of deaths globally has crossed 700,000.

 

------------------------

 

Jonathan Trott, who is now 39, is back with the England team again, after six years. He has been appointed as the batting coach.

For Pakistan, 2020 has been a reasonably better year than 2019, when it lost all the Tests it played – against South Africa and Australia – and exited the World Cup in the group stage. This will be its first Test since February, 2020, when it defeated Bangladesh by an innings in Rawalpindi.

England missed an opportunity in 2016 to win a series against Pakistan, according to Chris Woakes. The seamer says Pakistan has “always fought the good fight.” How good? The last time Pakistan lost a series against England was in 2010, in the series overshadowed by the spot-fixing scandal.

There will be much responsibility on the shoulders of the promising Babar Azam to score the runs at the top of the order. Yesterday, captain Azhar Ali claimed he was “up there” in the elite league of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. “His performance has improved massively in Tests over the last year or so,” he said.

The stats tell us that Babar scored 759 runs in seven Tests since 2019, with four centuries. Against England, he’s played only one innings, at Lord’s in May, 2018, scoring an unbeaten 68.

 

This will be Pakistan’s seventh Test at Old Trafford. It’s won only one match here, in May-June , 2001; Inzamam-ul-Haq shone with the bat to help Pakistan edge England for a 108-run win. Pakistan played its first-ever Test against England here, too, in July, 1954, under the captaincy of Abdul Hafeez Kardar. The result? A draw, despite being heavily behind in that contest.

The one well-known name from the Test tours of 2016 and 2018 absent this time is Mohammad Amir, who chose to retire from Test cricket last year. Wahab Riaz, who also chose to bid adieu to Test cricket, indicated his willingness to come out of retirement and the 35-year-old fast bowler has been included in the 20-man squad. Sarfraz Ahmed, who had fallen behind in the pecking order for the last year or so, has been included as well. Sarfraz has been chosen as the back-up keeper to Mohammad Rizwan.

Test cricket stays at Old Trafford, Manchester, for England’s three-Test series against Pakistan, this time. Joe Root scored a double-century the last time the two sides played here, in July, 2016, in a comprehensive England win. Overall, it was a tightly fought Test series, drawn 2-2 under Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. Pakistan played just two Tests in its 2018 tour, losing both.

 

Pakistan's 16-man squad: Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam (vc), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Imam-ul-Haq, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah

England's 14-man squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.


Key WTC points up for grabs as England, Pakistan prepare for upcoming Test series

Both England and Pakistan will be looking to pocket key World Test Championship (WTC) points in the first Test commencing today at Old Trafford in Manchester.

England and Pakistan currently hold the third and fifth spot on the WTC points table with 226 and 140 points respectively. The table is topped by India with 360 points.

England moved up to third position after the series against the West Indies and could potentially leapfrog Australia to second place if it manages to overpower Pakistan.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has a chance of overtaking New Zealand to claim the fourth place.

The host, England, won the three-match Test series against West Indies by 2-1. Apart from that, earlier, England had drawn a five-match series against Australia 2-2 and won a four-match series against South Africa 3-1.

Pakistan lost both matches of a two-Test series to Australia, beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in a two-match series and won its first match against Bangladesh at home, with another Test due on a subsequent leg postponed due to COVID-19.

WHAT THEY SAID

Azhar Ali:
English conditions are quite tough for batting. With the Dukes ball and the weather... it swings around. But we have had that experience in the past. (READ MORE)

Joe Root: Having played some high-intensity Test cricket will serve us well going into the series and will give us a bit of head start and that should play in our favour slightly. But it is important we don’t take it for granted and we are very aware Pakistan is a talented team. (READ MORE)

Each series of the WTC is worth 120 points, distributed evenly over the number of matches in a series. The points range from 60 for each match of a two-Test series to 24 for each match of a five-Test series.

In addition, players from each side will be aiming to progress in the ICC Men's Test Player Rankings. Pakistan captain Azhar Ali and vice-captain Babar Azam will be among the players in focus for Pakistan.

Azhar, presently 27th among batsmen, will be hoping to regain the form that lifted him to sixth in December 2016. Babar will be hoping to progress from a career-best aggregate of 800 rating points. Babar is currently sixth after having occupied a career-high fifth place in February.

For England, Stokes displaced West Indies captain Jason Holder from the top of the all-rounders' list during the last series and formerly top-ranked Stuart Broad rose to the third position in the bowlers' list, currently led by Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins.

Stokes is also England's top-ranked batsman in the fourth position, with captain Joe Root (ninth) and opener Rory Burns (17th) the side's next batsmen on the list.

Source: ANI

Where and when can you watch Pakistan vs England LIVE?

Pakistan vs England will be aired LIVE only on SONY SIX channels from August 5 2020, 3.30 pm onwards. It will be available for live streaming on SONY LIV.