Pakistani Babar Azam has been compared to Indian Virat Kohli as one of the world‘s leading batsmen after being unbeaten fifty on the opening day of the first test against England on Wednesday. When bad light forced an early shutdown at Old Trafford, Pakistan was 139-2, with Babar 69 not eliminated and Shan Masood unbeaten at 46. But left-handed Masood was missed twice at 45 by English wicket-keeper Jos Buttler on both sides of a long rain break, with off-spinner Dom Bess the hapless bowler on both occasions. The prolific Babar has now reached half a century in five consecutive test runs, with his previous five games at four hundred.
“If this boy was Virat Kohli, everyone would talk about it, but since it is Babar Azam, nobody talks about it,” said former English captain Nasser Hussain as he commented on Sky Sports.
“He’s young, he’s elegant, he’s got all the swagger,” he added.
“They’re about the ‘Fab Four (Kohli, Australian Steve Smith, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and English captain Joe Root) – it’s the’ Fab Five ‘and Babar Azam is in there.”
English coach Chris Silverwood said, “We know we are up against a very good batsman.”
Pakistan was 43-2 when Babar entered after captain Azhar Ali, who won the toss, fell lbw for a duck to Chris Woakes.
– Stylish Babar –
Babar started cautiously, but after lunch he deployed a series of stylish offensive shots towards a 70-ball fifty with nine fours.
He knocked pacemaker Jofra Archer over the ground before driving Bess to another border to get the hundred from Pakistan.
However, Bess should have removed Masood for 45 minutes when he took the outside edge of the left hand, but Buttler dropped the chance.
When play resumed in the early evening after a long delay in the rain, Root quickly threw his off-breaks with Bess to try to keep the game under a gray sky after Archer briefly threw on Babar.
But even with two bowls and the spotlights on, the referees still stopped at 6:12 PM (1712 GMT) before the ground was bathed in the sun shortly after.
However, there was still time for Buttler to miss the punching of Masood after the batsman invaded the field.
The mistakes will spark the discussion about the wicket-keeper’s side with Ben Foakes, arguably a superior gloveman, waiting in the wings.
“The game is quite funny … you get a fortune every now and then,” Masood said.
Silverwood defended Buttler by saying, “No one wants to miss them. He is very capable of doing something really special for us tomorrow.”
Conditions were favorable for England’s four-man pace attack, which had been involved in last month’s 2-1 series win over the West Indies, completed at Old Trafford.
But Azhar’s decision to hit first was understandable, as Pakistan plays two leg spinners in Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, who are expected to be more effective on a support field.
“We always knew the new ball would be a fight in England,” said Masood after hitting players like James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Woakes and Archer for almost three and a half hours.
“It’s not an easy performance as an opening batsman in this country, but that gives you the chance to give the team a good start, especially if you hit first.”
Masood and co-opener Abid Ali did a good job of surviving the first hour before Archer punched Abid with a long ball, leaving him wary of coming forward with several short deliveries.
As was the case during the West Indies series, the three-match campaign takes place behind closed doors for health reasons, with Pakistan denying the lively and vocal support they usually enjoy in England.
Meanwhile, former English captain Michael Vaughan struck at the early interruption due to poor light.
“There were two off-spinners bowling and we left for bad light. It does not make any sense. When will Test teach cricket? “
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