How the men in green fared in the memorable #PakvsEng

Published: May 28, 2018
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Mohammad Amir of Pakistan celebrates taking the wicket of Dom Bess of England during day four of the 1st Test match between England and Pakistan at Lord's Cricket Ground on May 27, 2018 in London, England. PHOTO: GETTY

In the first Test at Lords, Pakistan did to England what Pakistan does best – surprise everyone when they expect it the least. I’ll make a confession, I was hopeful for Pakistan to perform but not confident enough to wake up so early and sacrifice my sleep over it, since the match started at 6am in New York. When I woke up, England was four down for a little over 100 runs.

Then, Mohammad Amir ran in and got Alastair Cook bowled with a move that only Amir could have pulled off. From that moment onwards, I was glued to the TV for the next three days.

What made Joe Root choose to bat first in overcast conditions with moisture in the pitch is beyond my knowledge. He could have had a “brain fade” moment or he was overconfident, but either way, it helped Pakistan secure a victory in the first Test match in the series.

Joe Root gets a handshake from Sarfraz Ahmed at the toss, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 1st day, May 24, 2018. Photo: Getty

Here is how I would rate the performance of each player in this memorable Test Match:

1. Mohammad Abbas: 10/10

Abbas isn’t about Pakistani fast-bowling swag. He isn’t express fast, he doesn’t have long hair and he doesn’t carry a thick golden chain in his neck either. He is none of that. He knows only one thing and that is bowling with discipline that earns you wickets. He is less about style and more about effectiveness. Full marks to Abbas for his eight wickets that crippled England’s batting order.

Mohammad Abbas trapped Alastair Cook lbw, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s 3rd day, May 26, 2018. Photo: Getty

2. Babar Azam: 10/10                                              

Babar needs no introduction anymore. He has cemented his place in shorter formats and convinced the viewers he deserves a go in Test matches as well. His past Test match performances were embarrassing to say the least, but his 68 in the first innings were a treat to watch. It’s extremely unfortunate that Babar got injured in the middle of a beautifully constructed innings that seemed to be on its way to a 100. I would recommend him to wear an arm guard next time! I wish him a speedy recovery.

Babar Azam had to retire hurt after taking a blow on the forearm, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 2nd day, May 25, 2018. Photo: Getty

3. Asad Shafiq: 10/10

Asad scored 59 in the first innings but coupled with the slip catches he took, he deserves full marks for his efforts. Watching Asad construct a fluent partnership with Babar in testing conditions took us all by surprise. If anything, Asad might want to work on the short ball because it was the same ball Mitchell Starc got him out with when he was on his way to make history against Australia.

Asad Shafiq unfurls a perfect drive, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 2nd day, May 25, 2018. Photo: Getty

4. Amir: 9/10

I have been critical of Amir and that’s no secret. This time around, his bowling efforts were on the mark. He earned five wickets in total but he delivered wickets when we needed them the most. He got Alastair in the first innings when he was becoming an obstacle for Pakistan and then he returned in the second innings to get two wickets in an over to get Pakistan right on top. Jonny Bairstow must feel unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was simply an unplayable delivery.

Mohammad Amir celebrates as England collapse, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s 3rd day, May 26, 2018. Photo: Getty

5. Haris Sohail: 9/10

One down is one of the most critical positions to bat in any form of the game and even more so in Test Matches. One down batsman often needs to steady the ship after a fall of an early wicket. Pakistan was 12/1 in both innings when Haris walked in but he made sure nobody pressed the panic button. He played a fluent 39 each innings but we do expect a bigger score from him coming soon.

Haris Sohail and Imam-ul-Haq celebrate Pakistan’s victory in the first Test, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s 4th day, May 27, 2018. Photo: Getty

6. Faheem Ashraf: 8/10

Faheem didn’t pile on runs or bagged a handful of wickets but we didn’t expect that from him either, did we? He is brand new to Test cricket and playing in one of the most testing conditions. His 37 off 38 balls were a treat to watch. He showed aggression and the will to score while on the pitch. He also picked up a wicket of Jonny in the first innings.

Faheem Ashraf couldn’t quite convert into a century on Test debut, Ireland v Pakistan, Only Test, Malahide, 3rd day, May 13, 2018. Photo: Getty

7. Shadab Khan: 8/10

If there is one player with a certain bright future ahead of him, it is Shadab. At such a young age, the guy has made his place in all three forms of the game for Pakistan, which is absolutely incredible. His 50 in the first innings, along with a few handy wickets, puts us in a dilemma on how to keep him on the side when Yasir Shah returns.

Shadab Khan celebrates, Ireland v Pakistan, Only Test, Malahide, 3rd day, May 13, 2018. Photo: Getty

8. Hasan Ali: 8/10

Hasan is new to Test cricket as well and still has plenty to learn as he plays more. His four wickets in the first innings nonetheless setup Pakistan’s dominating position. I hope someone is managing his workload because he along with Amir is playing all three formats.

Hasan Ali claimed the big wicket of Joe Root for 4, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 1st day, May 24, 2018. Photo: Getty

9. Azhar Ali: 7/10

Azhar was critical in the first innings. When conditions were tough and England’s bowlers were trying to roll over Pakistan, Azhar stood there and negated the new ball. His 50 came at a time when we were most nervous of a batting collapse from the top order. However, as one of the most prolific Test batsmen in Pakistan’s current side, we expect more runs from Azhar. Hence, some marks are taken off for not converting a 50 into a bigger score, and falling early in the second innings.

Azhar Ali anchored Pakistan’s batting on the second morning, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 2nd day, May 25, 2018. Photo: Getty

10. Sarfraz Ahmed: 7/10

Six and a half out of that seven is for his captaincy and catches. The other 0.5 is for his batting. Sarfraz has been a great leader but his personal contribution in the batting department has been lacking. There is a sense of urgency and rush when he comes out to bat. He needs to take a deep breath, calm his nerves and spend some time on the pitch to give himself a chance to score big.

Sarfraz Ahmed held onto a blinder to remove Dawid Malan, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s 3rd day, May 26, 2018. Photo: Getty

11. Imamul Haq: 6/10

Imam didn’t get a chance to bat much in the second innings and his first innings ended far earlier than he would have liked. His contributions in this Test were not as prominent as other players but he looks determined. Hopefully, he will get a bigger score in the next Test match.

Imam-ul-Haq ducks underneath a delivery, England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s 4th day, May 27, 2018. Photo: Getty

Out of the 10 sessions played, Pakistan dominated England in nine of them. This wasn’t just a win; it was a stamp of authority from Pakistan. While the English media will grill England’s Test side over the next few days, Pakistani players will be flying high on confidence. A similar performance from Pakistan would be expected in the next Test match as well. A whitewash is very much on the cards and this time it would be against England, in England itself.

Good luck to Pakistan for the second Test match!

Hamza Junaid

Hamza Junaid

The author is an avid cricket follower and plays for a team called Gladiators based in New York. He tweets as @hamza_junaid1 (twitter.com/hamza_junaid1)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sufiyan

    What a performance by Pakistan. Not many, including myself, believed Pakistan could pull off this victory given their dismal performance with the ball in the 2 day practice match before the Lords test match. However, as Nasir Hussain once said “Pakistan Cricket at its best. One minute down, next minute up.”Recommend

  • Israr Khan

    hey hamza long time han :)
    good piece, i’ll start with shadab khan … what a find and what a confidence inzi had in him to have sent him to england a tour in 2016 just a month before the senior side… lets look at the score card again
    http://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scorecard/16697/paka-vs-sla-2nd-unofficial-test-sri-lanka-a-and-pakistan-a-in-england-2016
    when u look at the line up closely u will see inzi picked and played most of ur current side in this game pak a vs srilanka a in england
    babar azam, shadab khan, hasan ali we also had sherjeel however the player i have been waiting for to be picked in test side is SAUD SHAKEEL still ignored and i am terrified that he will be lost in the crowd he is a class apart
    anyway fahim ashraf and shadab amazing alrounders and in countries like england sa and aus u need them to fill in the gaps with bat and ball u do need 3 front line bowlers to go with it.
    safi need to score a ton in next game to justify his position at no 6 otherwise drop back to 7 or 8 please …
    abass aamir and hasan great bowlers already and need more drilling to be polished better, shadab will bowl better inshaAllah and fahim 10/10 for removing bairstow in 1st inngs
    azhar and asad must aim scoring tons its their 3rd visit to england and they must score runs take responsibility
    headingly a v hard and seaming track day 3 and 4 best to bat day 5 not bad pitch i think will hold up and day 1 and 2 will help bowlers … as we go along the pitch will be faster and bouncier but no movement with duke ball the movement will be always there… less lbws and less bowled so catching has to be top class and batting will fav short makers haris sohail type players will do well again …
    today my comments are like GHALIB KE KHAT all over the place … apologies :)Recommend

  • Waqas

    Good analysis. I feel very sorry for Babar Azam, he was playing beautifully.
    Also I want Amir to take more wickets in next matchRecommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    I honestly had a gut feeling that batting could impress us but I didn’t have trust in the bowling lineup to be able to pick up 20 wickets and that too so cheaply hahahaRecommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Babar Azam should have been wearing an arm guard. Safety comes first so I think that was a little mistake on his part but yeah he is one of my.favorite batsman of recent times I was rooting for him to get a hundred.
    I agree Amir needs more wickets but still satisfied with his efforts in this matchRecommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Hi Israr. Yeah long time where had you been haha and always great to hear back from you no apologies needed.
    Fahim and Shadab have impressed indeed. It was great to see them form a partnership so low in the batting order and then the freedom they played their shots with was a breath of fresh air. I always felt Pakistani batsmen of the past went in a shell and let the opposition bowlers look more deadly than they actually are. The new young players like to play some shots when the ball is there to be hit and hence the scoreboard keeps ticking.
    I have not heard of Saad Shakeel. You always give me a new name to check out haha. Impressed with you knowledge about upcoming players in domestic circuit.Recommend

  • Waqas

    I think he talking about Saud Shakeel son of Shakeel Sheikh, who used to be president of Islamabad Cricket Association. Yes I also heared about him he is very good telent.Recommend

  • Sufiyan

    I think we all agree that babar should have been wearing an arm guard but he didn’t know this was going to happen. A lot of players, including weekend warriors believe it or not, choose not to wear an arm guard because it limits their ability to play their shots freely. Had he known that bumper from Stokes was coming, I’m sure he would have chosen to duck instead of calling for an arm guard.Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Thanks for the info. Will look him up!Recommend

  • Hamza Junaid

    Valid points I dont like the extra equipment either but at international level the pace of the bowlers is high enough to cause serious injuries. Now that he is hit, it would be interesting to see if he wears an arm guard moving forward.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    Now even the second test is over ET whats wrong why no updates ?Recommend