The first day of the Test between Pakistan and England fell prey to bad light as officials deemed it was too dark for the match to move forward.
Pakistan, having won the toss and opted to bat first, started cautiously and their openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood saw their partnership survive 15 overs before the former departed, bowled by Jofra Archer.
Captain Azhar Ali came in one-down but went down soon, surviving just six balls and getting out on a duck to Chris Woakes.
Babar Azam walked in and together with Masood, they made sure no more wickets were lost in the first session of the series. At lunch, Pakistan were 53-2.
The pair batted with cautious confidence after the break, bringing up Pakistan’s century and closing in on their individual 50s.
Azam was the first to get it before rain interrupted play and players headed back into their dressing rooms.
With it pouring down in Manchester, an early tea was taken as the play remained suspended.
The play finally resumed at around 5:30pm local time.
Masood, stuck in the 40s for hours, got frustrated, went down the track and missed a Dom Bess off-spinner completely but fortunately the spin and bounce was too much for Jos Buttler to collect.
At the end of 49 overs, umpires deemed it was too dark for play to continue. Azam was at 69 while Masood was still loitering at 46 off 152 balls.
Earlier, as the playing elevens were announced, the worst kept secret was out. Captain Azhar Ali picked Shadab Khan at number six.
The move shores up the traditionally frail Pakistani batting. However, it also gives Pakistan a never-seen-before attack featuring two leg-spinners.
Meanwhile, speaking to media after the match, Masood expressed confidence in his batting and said that he’s looking forward to capitalize on the start he got.
“The target in my mind is to play as long as possible, staying longer will make runs come automatically,” Masood said when asked how he’s planning for day two.
Masood, who scored back-to-back centuries in his last two Test innings, said that he is looking to complete a hat-trick of scores in triple figures for Pakistan.
Talking about day one of the game that saw Masood negating the struggling period before being comfortable and getting into the scoring mode in the second session, the batsman said that playing in England is never easy for an opener.
“It was important to negate the new ball knowing that England has world-class bowlers. They bowled well, they bowled in good areas and hardly gave anything away initially,” he said.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (capt), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah