Hasan Ali marked his return to Test cricket with two early wickets before England great Alastair Cook kept Pakistan at a bay in a record-equalling appearance at Lord’s on Thursday.
England were 72 for three at lunch on the first day of this two-match series. Cook was 46 not out in his 153rd consecutive Test, which drew him level with the all-time record of Australia’s Allan Border. Jonny Bairstow was unbeaten on 10.
Pace bowler Hasan, meanwhile, had excellent figures of two for 18 in seven overs. England captain Joe Root won the toss and opted to bat first, despite the overcast conditions and a green-tinged pitch offering the promise of assistance for Pakistan’s pacemen.
Both England and Pakistan’s have concerns over their batting so it was a particularly bold decision by Root.
It certainly looked a good toss for Pakistan to lose as three members of an England top-order that repeatedly failed during winless winter Test tours of Australia and New Zealand all fell for single-figure scores.
Mohammad Abbas made the breakthrough when he bowled Mark Stoneman (four) with a late swinging delivery to leave England 12 for one in the fourth over.
Root, promoted up the order to number three, also fell for four when he drove at a wide ball from Hasan and edged behind to opposing captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Cook got into gear with a cover-driven four off Mohammad Amir — a team-mate at Essex when they won English cricket’s County Championship last season.
But he could only watch as Dawid Malan (six) became the second wicket of the morning for Hasan, with wicket-keeper Sarfraz again making no mistake with the catch. At that stage, England were 43 for three.
Just before Malan’s dismissal, Faheem Ashraf rapped the pad of Cook, then on 23. His lbw appeal was rejected by Australian umpire Paul Reiffel, himself a former Test bowler, prompting a Pakistan review.
Replays showed the ball had pitched in line and might have gone on to hit the stumps but the decision was just within the margin for ‘umpire’s call’ and Ashraf was denied a prize wicket.