Pakistan demonstrated that they are more than just home-ground bullies on day one of the first Test when they sent England packing for 184 on a green and grey Lord’s.
They ended the day on 50-1, off 23 overs. They know they have time on their side.
England opted to bat, who despite the enticing bowling conditions trusted in their batting lineup even though it wasn’t all that different to the one that went down 1-0 in the two-Test series in New Zealand in April. Jos Buttler was included, presumably on the back of his exploits in the IPL, which was worlds away from the conditions at Lord’s with low clouds and a hint of grass on the wicket.
Joe Root moved up to fill the No 3 role of James Vince, who was dropped after scoring 76 in his last Test innings, and an unbeaten 201 in his last championship innings for Hampshire.
It was left to Alastair Cook, playing a record 153rd consecutive Test and who, many say, is past his sell-by date. But he ages well, striking a wonderful 70 off 148 balls, with 14 fours, while the fresher ‘talent’ beneath him crumbled.
The pace of Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali reduced England to 38-3 before Jonny Bairstow threw down an anchor. He contributed 27 to a stand of 57 for the fourth wicket, but when he was bowled by Faheem Ashraf, the slide resumed – 49 being, by far, the best partnership thereafter.
Cook was undone by an almost unplayable delivery from Mohammad Amir, whereupon Abbas (who took nine wickets in the Test against Ireland) and Hasan Ali got to work to take the last five wickets for 35 runs.
England (first innings) 184: Alastair Cook 70, Ben Stokes 38, Jonny Bairstow 27; Mohammad Abbas 4-23, Hasan Ali 4-51.
Pakistan (first innings) 50-1
Photo: Philip Brown/Getty Images