16 overs: Pakistan 36-1 (Azhar Ali 0; Shan Masood 15) The players stroll back on after that short break and Archer finishes his over with two dots.
Rain stopped play
15.4 overs: Pakistan 36-1 (Azhar Ali 0; Shan Masood 15) The rain starts to fall after the Pakistan captain has faced three balls. Hover cover, no sheets. That was a lip-smacking ball by Archer, who has mixed up his deliveries this morning. After softening Ali up with a couple of bouncers at the end of his last over, this was on a length, Ali shuffled towards it a bit late and the ball shuttled into his off stump. Ping.
“Afternoon Tanya, afternoon everyone,” writes Michael Avery.
“I really enjoyed the wide range of people involved in the opening ceremony for the 2019 World Cup. In one part of the ceremony every country brought along a celebrity to represent them in a cricket match, and whilst England chose someone from Love Island whose name escapes me Pakistan went for Noble Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (no, really, Malala Yousafzai). It definitely had the feel of something that hadn’t been discussed beforehand.”
That can’t be true. Surely that can’t be true…
WICKET! Abid Ali b Archer 16
Castled! Full and stumps splayed.
at 7.20am EDT
15th over: Pakistan 35-0 (Abid Ali 16; Shan Masood 15) An excellent first hour here from Pakistan who have safely negociated 14 overs of dissecting bowling from Broad and Anderson, and now Woakes and Archer. England’s batsmen will be delighted to hear that the pitch is so dry that foot holes are already developing for the Pakistan spinners to exploit. A couple of singles off Woakes’ over.
14th over: Pakistan 34-0 (Abid Ali 15; Shan Masood 14) The bowling knitting committee of Broad and Anderson consult at the top of Archer’s mark as he prepares to bowl his first over. Archer has had a hair do -neat zig zags shaved into his scalp. We wait four balls, the fifth is a bouncer on an immaculate line that would have removed Ali’s head had he not bent his knees and fallen like a foal to the ground. A slightly less potent bouncer follows. The rain, by the way, has stopped.
“Harkarn Sumal suggests a grand way to liven up this English summer day,” taps Ian Copestake. “I would like to involve fielding positions as part of the opening ceremonial and, if his eyes are up to it, invite Dominic Cummings to try long-off but with a freedom to wander to the boundary if and when it suits him..”
at 7.09am EDT
13th over: Pakistan 32-0 (Abid Ali 14; Shan Masood 13) The rain starts to fall, and the groundstaff sprint into readiness. But they stay on as as Woakes sends down another accurate maiden.
12th over: Pakistan 32-0 (Abid Ali 14; Shan Masood 13) Broad is given another over, challenging, but Ali is up to the task and knocks a quick single from the last ball .
Harkarn, not quite Diana Ross, but I give you model Caprice and TV presenter Anneka Rice who were excruciatingly persuaded into promoting the 1999 World Cup held in England. Rice admitted in her first interview that she found the game boring.
11th over: Pakistan 30-0 (Abid Ali 13; Shan Masood 12)The first bowling change of the day as Chris Woakes (black headband, full beard) replaces Jimmy Anderson (just-so hair, designer stubble). A maiden.
Harkarn Sumal has been thinking:
As The Hundred has been postponed for a year, it gives us the chance to think of new and enterprising ways of ruining cricket in the meantime. I’ve been applying a good deal of though to this, and one innovation that we could import and cannibalise from our cousins across the pond is an equivalent of baseball’s “ceremonial first pitch”.
It’s a top-drawer low-brow bit of pantomime buffoonery, which could be inserted before play at every level of the professional game. So the match sponsor (e.g. the owner of the local bakery or carpet warehouse) turning up and turning their arm over for one delivery one week at a county or T20 game, a local first-round ejectee from a Saturday night shiny-floor singing contest show or the mayor doing so for the Hundred, right up to an appropriate dignitary for the international stuff. You know the drill; Christopher Biggins lobbing up an off-break for a T20 international, George Osborne getting pelters from the crowd for his inswinger that surreptitiously moves away to the right prior to an ODI, and the likes of Joanna Lumley being wheeled out to do the honours for a test match.
The more shambolic the better. Think Diana Ross attempting a penalty at the 1994 World Cup.
Suggestions of celeb&format combos are welcomed from your other reader!
at 6.59am EDT
10th over: Pakistan 29-0 (Abid Ali 12; Shan Masood 12) Ali plays a ball into his stomach, which bounces on the ground and Broad, to the bewilderment of the watching Buttler, charges in and left-foots the ball just wide of the stumps. Meanwhile Ollie Pope dons the helmet at short leg.
“Interesting that England have listed Broad above Archer on their teamsheet” ponders Richard O’Hagan. “Entirely justified on recent performances, it’s been almost as good to see Broad getting his batting mojo back as it has been to see him bowl.”
Good spot and absolutely deserved. I imagine that Broad has taken his slip down the batting order entirely in his stride.
9th over: Pakistan 27-0 (Abid Ali 11; Shan Masood 11) Consecutive fours off Anderson as Ali first turns a loose ball off his pads down to the boundary, then flays one through gully and just over the fingertips of the diving Burns.
at 7.12am EDT
8th over: Pakistan 18-0 (Abid Ali 3; Shan Masood 10) Under the stern Old Trafford floodlights, Broad continues from the Brian Staham End, shiny red orb gripped just-so in his hand. Ali plays out the over nicely until the last ball which he eyes up, drives flamboyantly and gets an inside edge onto his pad.
7th over: Pakistan 18-0 (Abid Ali 3; Shan Masood 10) Masood continues to irritate Anderson with a thick edge through the slips to the boundary. Jimmy neighs and pounds the grass with his feet.
6th over: Pakistan 13-0 (Abid Ali 2; Shan Masood 6) It is one long sleeved jumper weather out there. Masood cuts Broad at head height, turning the wrists to send the ball past point for four. Pakistan’s first boundary of the day.
“Morning Tanya,” writes Ian in sunny Turkey, “really looking forward to this series against Pakistan. It will be a great test for both teams, with their strong bowling line ups and still unpredictable batting line ups especially for Pakistan in English conditions, we shall see how the new sensation Babar copes with the moving ball both through the air and off the pitch especially against the rejuvenated Broad and Joe Root and Buttler are due for big scores anytime soon. I just hope my internet doesn’t crash.”
5th over: Pakistan 8-0 (Abid Ali 1; Shan Masood 2) An inside edge squeaks off Masood’s bat in a not completely controlled way. Anderson’s next ball squares up Ali. He’s on the money.
Rory Burns not only hasn’t had a haircut but is wearing the kind of beard you might purchase for a Christmas stocking.
at 6.57am EDT
4th over: Pakistan 7-0 (Abid Ali 1; Shan Masood 1) A haphazard leg-bye, but no runs from Broad’s second over to the empty stadium
“I was interested to hear Nassar Hussain’s opinion that Babar Azam has been scoring heavily since he started to play the ball more under his nose.” types Steve Hudson, “The impressively-beconked Nassar always found this particularly easy, so he knows what he’s talking about.” As the owner of a sizeable conk myself, I’ve always had time for Nasser’s noble nose.
3rd over: Pakistan 6-0 (Abid Ali 1; Shan Masood 1) Masood is twice beaten outside the off stump by Anderson, this feels a bit like a matter of time. I hope I’m wrong
Here are Gary Naylor’s talking points from the first round of the Bob Willis Trophy. Such an exciting day’s cricket yesterday – four nail-biters and giant killing by Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex and Worcestershire.
2nd over: Pakistan 2-0 (Abid Ali 1; Shan Masood 1) Pakistan nip a couple of quick singles off Broad’s over. Nasser points out the difficulty Masood had leaving the ball last time he was in England. Watch and wait.
“Really looking forward to this series, not just to see Pakistan’s bowling,” taps Toby Sims, “but also very importantly, the team lockdown haircut competition…”
Root, I don’t think, has hit the barbers. Broad is still in his white bandana with wild locks. I think Stokes has been shorn, but I’d need him to take his hat off to be sure.
1st over: Pakistan 0-0 (Abid Ali 0; Shan Masood 0) James Anderson takes the ball from his, less favoured, James Anderson End ,and serves up a predictably probing, accurate maiden. A beauty slips past a probing Masood as he props forward.
The players line up for the national anthems, now a minutes silence for all those round the world affected by Covid-19.
at 6.09am EDT
Pakistan will BAT -arghgh – thanks to all those who pointed out my, what Bob o’Hara called, brain fart.
Meanwhile Peter Haining pre-guesses the inbox with the overseas TMS link. Click here. Thank you Peter.
And Nasser Hussain puts the fear of god into England fans by an adulation of Babar Azam, who averages 64.57 since 2018, and, Sky have discovered, is playing the ball later and later and more underneath his nose.
A note from my colleague Ali Martin. The players will not be taking the knee today in solidarity with Black Lives Matters. This from the ECB:
“The players wore the Black Lives Matter logo and took the knee throughout the West Indies series in solidarity and respect to the message and our rivals. It remains a hugely important issue for both the ECB and the players as there is no place for discrimination of any kind in cricket or society.
“The ECB is continuing to develop plans and consult with the game to make cricket more inclusive and diverse, and we recently set out a range of action we are taking to address some of the feedback we’ve received as we seek to drive real change.”
Warnie is waxing lyrical about Pakistan’s two legs-spinners, Yasir Shar – who he says spins the ball both ways, has all the toys and just needs the right fields -and Shadab Khan, who had been due to join Surrey for their Blast cricket this season.
England: Burns, Sibley, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler, Woakes, Bess, Archer, Broad, Anderson
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah.
Pakistan have won the toss and will bat
Azhar Ali says they’re going in with three seamers and two leg spinners.
England have chosen an unchanged XI – which presumably means Ben Stokes won’t bowl. Root says he’d have batted first but looking forward to exploiting the overhead conditions.
at 6.16am EDT
The first email of the day pings in:
“As long as it remains dry, the cricket should start on time. I’m very excited to watch Babar – and the continued growth of England’s opening pair, who are doing exactly the job asked of them (batting time, establishing a platform). Burns and Sibley are both averaging more than 42, since the Ashes/debut.”
Good stat James Debens! Though I’m nervous about Burns and Sibley opening this morning against this Pakistan in these conditions. Toss is imminent.
And here is the pitch. Note the grassy outfield – it hosed it down last night (as it has much of the last month).
And for those of you who want to relive the astonishing ODI against Ireland last night, here’s Vic Marks purring with delight.
If yesterday was Ireland and last week was West Indies, today must be Pakistan – and there can be no better way to start a grizzled Wednesday morning in Manchester than a Test match against them – the first of three, followed by three T20s.
Pakistan last played a Test in February, so are without England’s intense match practise, but they have been quietly going about their business in the UK since the end of June. A journalist who watched them at both their warm-up matches at Derby said the batting was very reliant on Babar Azam but their bowling was a match for England’s.
The man – boy – causing the greatest excitement is Naseem Shah, the 17 year old with the flowing side-on action that Michael Vaughan has compared to Fred Trueman’s. Just 17, he can bowl at 90mph, swing the ball both ways and already has a Test hat-trick, against Bangladesh earlier this year. One fears for England’s stumps. He is complemented by Shaheen Afridi, who so impressed in last year’s World Cup.
Babar Azam is the pick of the batting. His last tour of England in 2018 ended after just one innings when his wrist was broken by a ball from Ben Stokes during 68 at Lord’s. He is now the third ranked batsmen in ODIs and the sixth ranked in Tests – and has been compared by his captain to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli in terms of talent. A stint with Somerset last summer will have helped his acclimatisation to English conditions.
England, who announced a 14 man squad unchanged from the final Test against West Indies, are waiting on Ben Stokes’ fitness to bowl. And another milestone beckons – James Anderson needs just 11 wickets to reach the 600 mark. And the weather? Blowy, damp and grey, though no rain is forecast until this afternoon.
at 5.07am EDT