Pakistan dancing on the edge of a razor blade at Old Trafford


Old Trafford, Manchester: Dazzling centuries from English captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root on the first day of the second Test match at Old Trafford left England in a commanding position at end of day’s play.

Pakistan are currently looking down the barrel as it is highly likely that England will go over the 400 run mark on day unless until Pakistani team knocks them over cheaply on day 2. But considering that England bat deep and suitable batting conditions, it’s going to be a difficult task.

England, having won the toss, did not hesitate to bat first on a hard and dry pitch. Their batsmen made full use of the conditions and lack lustre bowling from Pakistan to pile on the runs and assert their authority on the first day.

Cook, who scored his 29th Test century on day 1 was happy to be finally back in the runs after missing out in the previous few innings. He realised the importance of having a good first innings total on the board and hoped that England can add a substantial amount to their overnight total on day 2.

“It’s been a while since I scored a hundred for England,” Cook told reporters.

“First-innings runs, as always in any Test match, are vital.”

Cook celebrates his 29th Test century- Pic courtesy ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan bowlers bowled well in patches during the day but inconsistent line and length throughout the day was a major factor behind Pakistan’s inability to pick up wickets at regular intervals on day 1. Yasir Shah also gave away more than hundred runs on the first day and it seemed as if the high expectations got the better off the legspinner.

Come day 2 Pakistan will look to make a comeback of sorts in order to ensure that England don’t bat them out of the game by posting a mammoth total. Although the conditions are good for batting but Pakistani batting line-up tends to crumble under pressure and the return of James Anderson will not make their task any easier.

Pakistani openers will have a role to play in this Test match because Pakistan would ideally want a nice solid platform upfront in order to reduce the pressure and workload on the middle order. Shan Masood and Mohammad Hafeez also have a point to prove after missing out in the first Test match. With Sami Aslam waiting in the wings the openers have to come up with a good score sooner rather than later.

Pakistani middle order stalwarts in the shape of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq will have their work cut out in the batting department because they will have to carry the batting line-up and anchor the innings. It would be vital that every batsman chips in with a significant contribution so that Pakistan can fight their way back into this Test match rather than bowing out rather easily.

England resume play on day 2 at 314/4 with Joe Root unbeaten on 141 and Chris Woakes was on 2.