MANCHESTER: After being down and out in the first test match at Lord’s, England has bounced back strongly. Their skipper, Alastair Cook along with Joe Root tested Pakistani bowlers to its core as they both scored centuries on the first day of the second test. England was 314/4 at the end of first day’s play.
It was an extremely tough and tiring day for the top ranked test bowler of the world, Yasir Shah, who got no wicket in the day conceding 111 runs in the 31 overs that he bowled.
Alastair Cook won the toss for England and opted to bat first on a surface that looked absolutely perfect for batting with even bounce and consistent pace.
Mohammad Amir provided his team an early breakthrough when he undone Alex Hales with a big booming in-swinging yorker at a score 10 runs. England was 25/1 and it seemed somewhat a repeat of Lord’s performance.
But, the two of English batsmen had other ideas, Joe Root and Alastair Cook gave nothing away to Pakistani bowlers and batted with exceptional discipline.
The two didn’t bother to touch the balls outside off-stump and chose deliveries to score very intelligently that forced the visitors’ bowlers to change their line and length.
Yasir Shah was neutralized by the pair to a great effect, moreover he got no purchase from the wicket as well. They scored at a rate of over 3.5 runs per over against him. It was clear that English batsmen have done their homework to tackle the leggie.
Alastair Cook and Joe Root contributed 185 runs together for the second wicket, the skipper eventually fall against the best Pakistani bowler by far in the innings, Mohammad Amir, as he inside edged once again on to his stump. Cook scored 105 runs off 172 deliveries with complete authority.
The next men in, James Vince also couldn’t have a convincing outing as he was dropped by Younis Khan in the slip cordon off Mohammad Amir before being removed by Rahat Ali cheaply.
Despite of losing two quick wickets, it didn’t bother Joe Root a bit as he went on to score the tenth century of his career, he controlled his nerves and forced Pakistani bowlers to bowl at him, he was almost flawless today. Gary Ballance supported him well for a partnership of 73 runs before he dragged one on to his stumps from Rahat Ali.
Ballance scored a brave innings of 23 runs, Chris Woakes came replaced him as a night-watchman, who will start proceeding on the Day 2 with Joe Root.
There were a number of edges off Pakistani pacers, specifically, Mohammad Amir that flown from the fourth slip or gully region. He bowled brilliantly and got just two wickets for 63 runs, however, he bowled far better than his statistics suggest.
England has a lot of batting to come in shape of Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali. It will surely be tough four days ahead for the visitors.