MANCHESTER: Pakistan were 139/2 at the end of Day 1 of the first Test against England after the third session got largely washed out as only eight overs could be bowled in it. At the draw of stumps, free-flowing Babar Azam was unbeaten on 69 off 100 balls with a resilient Shan Masood (46* off 152 balls) for company.
Early Tea was taken at the Old Trafford, putting a halt on Babar's charge. Pakistan's No. 4 was on 52 off 71 balls at Tea, adding 78 runs with opener Masood, thus swinging the momentum to the visitors' favour in the second session. Pakistan went into the post-lunch session having lost Masood's opening partner Abid Ali and captain Azhar Ali in the first session. Babar got off the mark in the second session with a four off the first ball he faced from James Anderson.
Babar hardly ever looked fussed throughout his free-flowing innings in the second session. England had a chance to break the partnership when Masood got a feather touch on a Dom Bess delivery that spun away from off stump. Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, however, failed to hold on to it and Masood's vigil continued. Two overs later, Babar got to his half-century off just 70 balls. That was the only delivery Jofra Archer could bowl in the over before the umpires called the players off due to bad light, which was followed by rain.
Earlier, Archer and Chris Woakes bowled with venom and shared two wickets to disturb Pakistan's watchful start as they reached 53/2 at Lunch.
Electing to bat first, the tourists were off to a steady start as openers Masood and Abid Ali saw off the early threat from veteran new-ball bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
England captain Joe Root introduced the slippery Archer and it worked as the gun-quick rattled Ali's stumps with a full delivery after setting him up with a barrage of bouncers in the previous over. Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali soon joined the opener as he was trapped in front by Woakes, failing to open his account.
Brief Scores: Pakistan (1st innings): 139/2 (Babar Azam 69*, Shan Masood 46*; Woakes 1/14). (IANS)