Misbah silences critics, scores remarkable century at Lord’s

Published July 14, 2016
Misbah-ul-Haq bats on the first day of the first Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's in London. — AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq bats on the first day of the first Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's in London. — AFP

LONDON: Pakistan were 282 for six after winning the toss at stumps on the first day of the first Test against England at Lord’s on Thursday.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who in the course of his innings became the oldest Test centurion in 82 years, was 110 not after Rahat Ali was bowled by Chris Woakes off what became the last ball of the day.

Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes led England’s attack with four for 45.

Misbah, after winning the toss and electing to bat first on a sunny day, survived as top-order wickets fell around him.

The 42-year-old Pakistan captain’s century was his 10th in 62 Tests and first ever on British shores. It was a heroic performance after coming in to bat at a point when Pakistan were struggling at 77/3.

The right-handed batsman led his team from the front by establishing a crucial 148-run stand with Asad Shafiq for the fifth wicket.

Shafiq, who is just a century away from breaking West Indian great Gary Sobers’ record for the most centuries at number six, was dismissed for 73.

Pakistan got off to a cautious start with the first runs coming in the third over of the innings. But first-change Woakes removed both openers with a burst of two wickets for five runs in 16 balls.

A rising delivery had left-hander Masood, playing away from his body, caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for seven.

The same combination then dismissed Hafeez for 40.

Hafeez’s 59-ball innings, including eight fours, ended when he tried to work to leg a short ball from the Warwickshire all-rounder that swung away a touch only to get a top edge, with Bairstow holding the skyed chance.

Pakistan were now 51 for two.

They had moved on to 76 for two at lunch but Azhar Ali had failed to add to his interval score of seven not out when he was literally knocked off his feet by a Ball yorker and given out lbw by Dharmasena.

The batsman reviewed and Ball, presented with his England cap before play by his uncle Bruce French, the former England wicket-keeper, had a nervous wait for his first Test wicket.

But this time, thanks to a tight ‘umpire's call’ verdict showing the ball clipping leg stump, technology worked in Ball’s favour.

Pakistan were now 77 for three but veterans Younis and Misbah, as they had done so often before, steadied the innings.

Their cause was helped when Misbah was dropped on 16 by Joe Root, who grassed a tough slip chance off fast bowler Steven Finn.

Younis struck several elegant drives in his innings but he gave his wicket away on 33 when he clipped Broad straight to Moeen Ali at square leg to end a stand of 57.

This is the first of a four-Test series, which also marks the return of left-arm fast-bowler Mohammad Amir after the spot-fixing saga that hit Pakistan cricket six years ago.

It is the same venue where his cricketing career came to a gruesome halt in 2010.

For all his time out of cricket, the 24-year-old retains the ability to swing the ball late at sharp pace, as he showed with a first-innings haul of three for 36 in Pakistan’s drawn tour opener against Somerset before he was rested from last week’s draw with Sussex.

Pakistan line-up: Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz

England line-up: Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Johnny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Jake Ball

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