England were in the driving seat after day one in the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley.
Pakistan were bundled out for 174 in their first innings after skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first at Leeds. In reply, the hosts were batting on 106-2 when stumps were called on Friday.
Here, we look at the key talking points from an action-packed day at Headingley.
BROAD GIVES ENGLAND A ROARING START
Throughout the Lord’s Test, the difference between the English and Pakistan pacers in their lengths and lines had been one of stark contrast. While the visitors had very much pitched it up, England’s pacers likes James Anderson and Stuart Broad had veered towards the shorter side.
It seemed the hosts had very much learnt their lessons as Broad reaped the rewards of pitching it up. Broad had Pakistan opener Azhar Ali pinned lbw with a fuller delivery to give England a roaring start. Soon, he snared the other opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq with another half-volley which the left-hander could only guide into the hands of second slip.
Broad’s opening burst was just the tonic England needed after their Lord’s disappointment and it set the tone for the rest of the day.
Broad was the pick of the England pacers with three wickets.
SHADAB KHAN PERFORMS REARGUARD ACTION FOR PAKISTAN
Shadab Khan’s impact with the bat since his introduction to Test cricket has been nothing short of extraordinary. The 19-year-old leg-spinner had struck a half-century in each of Pakistan’s last two Tests wins over Ireland and England.
He followed that up with another solid showing with the bat which prevented an utter humiliation for the batting-card. After Broad’s early burst, Anderson and Chris Woakes had got among the wickets too to leave Pakistan teetering at 79-7. That is when Shadab took charge with the bat, forming a vital partnership with Mohammed Amir first followed by another one with Hasan Ali.
The youngster struck 10 boundaries in a plucky innings full of heart as he notched up his third half-century in just his sixth Test innings. His sparkling 56 off just 52 balls was the sole reason Pakistan got to 174 after their horror-start.
Shadab Khan kisses the ground after registering his half-century.
ENGLAND’S BATSMEN STRENGTHEN GRIP
The impressive showing from England’s pacers was backed up by their batsmen as the hosts took control of the Headingley Test. Openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings were beaten on quite a few occasions by the Pakistan pacers but they held their composure and pounced on the loose deliveries to put up a 53-run stand for the first wicket.
While Jennings was dismissed eventually by Faheem Ashraf, Cook and Joe Root did not let the initiative slip away from the hosts. Cook, playing in a record 154th consecutive Test for England, showed the steely resolve and powers of concentration which have been his forte over the years as he kept the Pakistan pacers at an arm’s length.
Though Cook was dismissed shortly before the close of play, his 46-run innings had put England in complete command at Headingley.
Cook laid a strong foundation for England with his 46.
SARFRAZ AHMED MISREADS PITCH?
In the first Test at Lord’s, England skipper Joe Root’s decision to bat first on a cloudy morning had backfired massively with the hosts getting bowled out for just 184 runs on a seaming pitch.
That decision had proved to be fatal for England and at the end of the first day’s play at Headingley, the very same scenario seems to be playing out again. Sarfraz Ahmed’s decision to bat first despite swing being forecast big-time at Headingley looked like a brave gamble in the morning and come stumps, the lapse in judgment seems to have been confirmed.
Pakistan’s batsmen found the going tough as England’s pacers made the most of the overcast conditions. By the time England came on to bat, the pitch had started to ease out considerably and the hosts seem well placed to tighten their grip on the Test during day two.
Sarfraz’s decision to bat first is not looking good at the moment.