Babar, Masood shine on rain-affected day


England endured a difficult start to the first Test against Pakistan on a frustrating opening day at Emirates Old Trafford. The visitors moved to 139-2 in between 41 overs being lost to rain and bad light.

They had been 43-2 before Babar Azam stroked a classy unbeaten 69 in a partnership of 96 with opener Shan Masood, who is 46 not out.

They scored increasingly freely against an England side who lost their way with the ball after lunch, while wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped an edge off Masood and missed a straightforward chance to stump the same man from the bowling of Dom Bess either side of a three-hour break for rain.

Following an inspection at 17:00 BST, there was the farcical sight of no play taking place in bright sunshine until the players returned at 17:45.

When they did, the light then deteriorated to such an extent England could only bowl spin for the majority of the time until the players left for the final time at 18:11.

Better weather is forecast for the next three days, with Pakistan having built a good platform after choosing to make first use of a surface that looks ideal for batting.

If they can post an imposing first-innings total, it would allow their pair of leg-spinners, Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, more leeway on a pitch that seems likely to turn.

With Ben Stokes not yet fit to bowl, England are unchanged from last week’s final Test against West Indies. (BBC Sport)

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