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First Test: Babar Azam from Pakistan punishes careless England on Day 1 with rain. Cricket News


MANCHESTER (England): Babar Azam fluidly hit an unbeaten half-century when Pakistan closed a rain-cut Wednesday on the first day of the first Test against England in 139 for two in a gloomy and wet Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Babar (69 not out) demonstrated all his skill and class to withstand an early storm from England’s bowlers, and fight off the initiative alongside the quieter starter Shan Masood (46 not out).
England was excellent before lunch, entering the interval with Pakistan by 53 for two, but whimsical and lukewarm after the break as tourists racked up 68 runs in 16.1 more before the rain brought early tea.
The players returned late in the day for 7.5 overs, but the poor light meant England had to throw spinners Dom Bess and Joe Root, and Pakistan could see their threat.
The closest the home team was to a wicket was a great opportunity for Jos Buttler against Shan against Bess, but the ball’s rebound eluded the wicketkeeper and the left-hander survived.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer took the first wicket in the innings, throwing Abid Ali (16) with a delivery that slipped backwards and pierced the gap between the bat and the platform after a provisional hit by the batter.
Sailor Chris Woakes then claimed touring captain Azhar Ali’s large scalp, caught the leg before wicket by a duck, leaving the visitors reeling to 43 for two as the ball whistled in the dim light. However, they were unable to take advantage of that advantage, losing their line, length and intensity in a weak post-lunch session when Babar and Shan added an undefeated 96 for the second wicket.
Pakistan won the draw and chose to bat, and England captain Root admitted that he would have done the same, hoping to use an end-game wicket that is expected to take over.
It’s for that reason that they’ve selected a couple of spinners at Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah, but they will want to give them something to play with by building a sizable total of first innings.

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