Babar Azam keeps Pakistan steady on rain-marred day
Pakistan were 121-2, with Babar 52 not out, when the umpires ordered an early tea in Manchester
Pakistan's Babar Azam underlined his status as one of the world's leading batsmen with a fine unbeaten fifty before rain stopped play on Day One of the first Test against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Pakistan were 121-2, with Babar 52 not out, when the umpires ordered an early tea in Manchester. Together with left-handed opener Shan Masood (45 not out), he had put on an unbroken 78 for the third wicket before the weather intervened. Pakistan were 43-2 when Babar came in to bat after captain Azhar Ali, who had won the toss, fell lbw for a duck to Chris Woakes.
After the lunch interval, Babar, 25, who had scored four hundreds in his five previous Tests, unfurled an array of stylish attacking shots. He struck express fast bowler Jofra Archer down the ground for four before driving off-spinner Dom Bess for another boundary to bring up Pakistan's hundred.
Bess, however, should have removed Masood for 45 when he took the left-hander's outside edge but wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped the chance. Babar drew level on 45 not out with Masood, who was on 22 when the right-hander came into bat. Babar then went past his teammate to complete an impressive 70-ball fifty, including nine
With leg-spinners Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan in Pakistan's side, there was a logic in Azhar's decision to bat first after he won the toss, with his slow bowlers likely to be more effective on a wearing pitch.
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