MANCHESTER: Shan Masood joined a select group of Pakistan batsmen to have scored hundreds in three successive Test innings as his excellent century led the tourists to 326 all out against England on the second day of the series opener at Old Trafford.
Left-handed opener Shan batted for nearly eight hours in largely bowler-friendly conditions for a Test-best 156, surpassing his 135 against Sri Lanka at Karachi last December.
He received excellent support from young all-rounder Shadab Khan (45) in a sixth-wicket stand of 105 that turned the tide after Pakistan had been struggling at 176-5.
Despite chipping away at the Pakistan wickets, it was another poor afternoon session for England, who might be feeling a sense of deja vu after a similarly lacklustre bowling display on the opening day had also undone good work in the morning.
Pakistan resumed the second day on 139 for two, but added only 48 runs in the morning session at a paltry rate of 1.86 per over, also losing key batsman Babar Azam (69), Asad Shafiq (7) and wicket-keeper/batsman Mohammad Rizwan (9).
But for the first hour after lunch, it was all Pakistan as Shan and Shadab Khan (45) punished England’s tepid attack. The pair ran England ragged, with even defensive shots producing well-taken runs.But with five overs until the new ball, England captain Joe Root then bowled his own occasional off-breaks as well as frontline spinner Dom Bess immediately after the interval.
They bowled several loose deliveries to release the pressure on the batsmen, Shan and Shadab adding 27 runs in the first five overs after lunch.
Although Root took the new ball as soon as he could, with Pakistan 214-5 off 80 overs, the sixth-wicket pair were well set and the runs continued to flow.
There were no nervous 90s for the Kuwait-born Shan, who had been reprieved twice on 45 by Jos Buttler on Wednesday after the struggling wicket-keeper dropped a catch and missed a stumping off the unfortunate Bess.
Two late-cut boundaries off Stuart Broad took him to 96 before twos off Broad and James Anderson saw Shan, who struggled during Pakistan’s 2016 tour of England, to a 251-ball century, including 13 fours.
With the series being played behind closed doors because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), there was none of Pakistan’s traditional enthusiastic crowd support to acclaim the landmark.
Instead, Shan’s team-mates clapped and cheered the 30-year-old from the changing room balcony, with Pakistan great Younis Khan — now the batting coach on this tour — joining the applause.
As well as being his fourth hundred in 21 Tests, and a first against England, it was also Shan’s third in a row, after his century against Sri Lanka was followed by 100 against Bangladesh at Rawalpindi in February.
Shan, educated in England, was the sixth Pakistan batsman to score a hundred in three consecutive Test innings after Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.
All-rounder Shadab holed out off Bess with a mistimed slog to mid-on.
Fast bowler Jofra Archer then took two tail-end wickets with successive deliveries before Shaheen Afridi survived the hat-trick.
Shan, playing a textbook opener’s innings, upped the tempo by hoisting and driving Bess for two sixes. He eventually fell lbw after tea to Broad, having faced 319 balls, hitting 18 fours and two sixes.
Broad led England’s attack with 3-54 from 22.3 overs while Archer also took three wickets.
Earlier Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, struck with just the sixth ball of the day when he had Babar edging to Root at first slip without adding to his overnight tally of 69.
PAKISTAN (1st Innings, overnight 139-2):
Shan Masood lbw b Broad 156
Abid Ali b Archer 16
Azhar Ali lbw b Woakes 0
Babar Azam c Root b Anderson 69
Asad Shafiq c Stokes b Broad 7
M. Rizwan c Buttler b Woakes 9
Shadab Khan c Root b Bess 45
Yasir Shah lbw b Archer 5
Mohammad Abbas c Root b Archer 0
Shaheen Shah Afridi not out 9
Naseem Shah c Buttler b Broad 0
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-7, NB-2) 10
TOTAL (all out, 109.3 overs) 326
FALL OF WKTS: 1-36, 2-43, 3-139, 4-150, 5-176, 6-281, 7-291, 8-291, 9-317.
BOWLING: Anderson 19-6-63-1 (1nb); Broad 22.3-8-54-3; Woakes 20-6-43-2; Archer 22-4-59-3 (1nb); Bess 20-4-74-1; Root 6-0-25-0.
ENGLAND: R.J. Burns, D.P. Sibley, J.E. Root, B.A. Stokes, O.J. Pope, J.C. Buttler, C.R. Woakes, D.M. Bess, J.C. Archer, S.C.J. Broad, J.M. Anderson.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020