A day of broken records.
Misbah ul Haq started the 1st day of the 1st Test well by winning the toss and electing to bat. The captain was a little annoyed with the selectors as he didn’t have a 2nd specialised spinner in the squad after Yasir Shah became injured. Seamer Imran Khan was called up instead. We will have to see how costly this proves to be over the next few days.
The sparsely populated, lush green desert ground of Abu Dhabi was the setting for a day of broken records. A joy for the cricket statisticians.
Shan Masood opening was left stunned by a Jimmy Anderson surprise bouncer and the ball rattled the stumps after deflecting off his helmet. Lesson to be learnt, always expect bouncers from the English quicks! This was Anderson’s 414th Test wicket, 10th level with Wasim Akram, in the table for the world’s leading wicket takers. Later in the day he went ahead onto 415 wickets.
Hafeez on 7, was very lucky after he edged a simple catch off Anderson to the slips, which Bell dropped.
After a break of five years from Tests, Shoaib Malik made an impressive entry. Together with Hafeez, they put on 168 runs for the 2nd wicket. Malik also was gifted a second life after being caught off a Broad ‘no ball’. Hafeez passed a grand total of 3000 Test runs in his 45th Test, before falling lbw to Stokes on 98.
Enter veteran Younis Khan, with a striking 6 he became the highest scoring Pakistani Test player, overtaking Javed Miandad’s 22 year old record of 8832 runs. This indeed is a huge feat, well deserved by Younis Khan, congratulations!
Shoaib Malik’s fortunes continued to rise with a century on his return to Test cricket, unbeaten on 124 at the close of play.
Younis Khan then fell for 38, followed by Misbah ul Haq for 3.
Key spinner Yasir Shah was unable to play due to a back injury and will be badly missed on this pitch. Injured vice captain Azhar Ali was also not fit for this Test.
Interesting to note two Pakistani descent players were playing for England. One 28 year old off spinning, allrounder Moeen Ali, in his 16th Test and the other on debut 27 year old leg spinning, allrounder Adil Rashid. Although both spinners were unsuccessful today as the dominant Pakistani batsmen negated any turn they got. However the seamers collected all of today’s wickets.
Bell had a terrible day by dropping another simple catch off Anderson’s bowling when Asad Shafiq edged a chance.
All in all in was Pakistan’s day today finishing on 286-4, welcome back to ‘the fortress’ England.