LONDON: Senior batsman Azhar Ali praised youngsters in the team and termed them as a “good omen” for the future as Pakistan took a firm grip on the first Test against England at Lord’s on Friday.
Pakistan were 350-8 in reply to England’s 184 all out which meant they had an overall lead of 166 runs with three days to go to press for a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Babar Azam led the pack with 68 (retired hurt and out of the series with a broken arm) while Asad Shafiq (59), Shadab Khan (52), Azhar (50), Haris Sohail (39) and Faheem Ashraf (37) all fought hard to build on first day’s heroics of the bowlers.
Azhar and Haris put on 75 for the second wicket while Shafiq-Babar stand yielded 84 and Faheem-Shadab added 72 to frustrate the experienced England attack.
Azhar said the emergence of youngsters like Faheem and Shadab is a good sign.
“Youngsters coming and performing is a good sign,” said Azhar “To perform in these tough conditions is very heartening. The way Shadab and Faheem played was brilliant and showed a good attitude by playing their own game.”
Azhar said Pakistan were in a good position.
“We are in a good position but its a long way to go,” said Azhar. “Test win doesn’t come easy but the first two days are really good for us. We bowled really well and then in conditions not very easy we have batted well against a quality bowling attack.”
Azhar admitted a half-century in the side game before the Test helped him regain his confidence.
“You ask any batsman and he will tell you that runs give confidence and I was struggling at the start of the tour so runs against Leicestershire gave me confidence and that jelped today,” said Azhar.