MANCHESTER: Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said Shan Masood had ‘proved himself in England’ after the opener’s superb hundred helped leave the tourists well-placed in the first Test at Old Trafford.

Shan’s Test-best 156 was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s first-innings 326 all out as the tall left-hander batted for nearly eight hours in difficult conditions and in the process joined Misbah and team batting coach Younis Khan as one of just six Pakistan batsmen to have scored a hundred in three consecutive Test innings.

Yet the 30-year-old averaged a meagre 17.75 during Pakistan’s 2016 tour of England.

“It was an excellent performance by him, especially against a seam attack of [Stuart] Broad, [James] Anderson, [Chris] Woakes and [Jofra] Archer, and against an off-spinner [Dom Bess] that was bowling well on a pitch where there was turn,” said Misbah of the English-educated Shan’s fourth hundred in 21 Tests.

“It was good application and his hard work has paid off. Now he has proved himself here in England, so I’m really pleased, especially as it’s not [just] a hundred, [but] a big hundred.

“Still, we would have been in trouble if he only scored a hundred. But hundred-and-fifty plus, and through the innings, that was really special.”

Meanwhile, former England cricketer David Lloyd also praised Shan, saying the left-hander has shown how a batsman’s game could develop.

“Shan has shown how a batsman’s game can develop. When he toured England in 2016, he was a walking wicket. He had no idea where his off stump was, and kept nicking off. But he’s worked on what to play at, and what to leave, and his defence now looks immaculate,” Lloyd wrote in his column for The Daily Mail as quoted by cricketpakistan.com.pk.

“Conditions haven’t been easy for batting: the lights have been on, and there’s been cloud cover. So to score a hundred in England something not many visiting openers manage is quite an achievement,” he said.

The former England cricketer also appreciated Pakistan’s coaching staff for bringing a positive culture in the dressing room, which seems to be paying dividends.

“You’ve got Misbah-ul-Haq as head coach, supported by his old batting partner Younis Khan, plus two great bowlers in Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed. All four have got a wonderful attitude, and importantly they understand Pakistan culture, and what makes the dressing-room tick. There are real signs that their team was making big strides forward,” Lloyd wrote.

Lloyd said England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley don’t have the batting technique to counter Pakistan’s pace duo of Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Shaheen trapped Burns (4) lbw before Abbas did likewise to Sibley (8) in England’s first innings at Old Trafford.

“England openers couldn’t cope with Pakistan’s new-ball attack of Shaheen and Abbas. Both Rory Burns and Dom Sibley looked like sitting ducks and both were lbw because of technical flaws. Burns’ front pad moves too far to the off side, and Sibley has such an open stance that if Abbas, who gets so tight to the stumps, hits him on the pads, he’s out,” Lloyd wrote.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020