Shafiq, Azam fifties keep Pakistan on top

Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam crafted patient fifties to lift Pakistan to 227 for five at tea on the second day of the first test against England at Lord’s on Friday.
(L) Babar Azam celebrates his fifty
(L) Babar Azam celebrates his fifty

London

The touring side, who bowled England out for 184 after losing the toss, moved 43 runs ahead on another overcast day at the home of cricket and were in a strong position to dictate the course of the match.
Resuming on 50 for one, Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail were untroubled by a toothless England seam attack in the first hour and Azhar played one glorious cover drive for four off Mark Wood as the pair took the total to 87. England captain Joe Root rotated his fast bowlers in an effort to unsettle the batsmen before turning to off-spinner Dom Bess in his first test.
Azhar nudged the 20-year-old for a single to bring up a half-century that included six fours, but the compact right-hand batsman failed to add to his tally, falling lbw to a full-length delivery from James Anderson.
Shafiq and Azam took Pakistan to 136 for three at lunch and the pair continued to gather runs comfortably in the afternoon session.
Shafiq chopped Wood high over the slips to reach his half-century and moved on to 59 before he was surprised by a short ball from Ben Stokes which looped up off his bat to Dawid Malan at second slip.
Azam played some wristy strokes and became the third Pakistan batsman to make fifty but he lost his partner Sarfraz Ahmed just before tea when the captain skied a pull off Stokes and was well caught by a diving Wood on the fine-leg boundary.
Azam was unbeaten on 59 at the interval and Pakistan were on course to establish a healthy first-innings lead and put England under pressure at the start of the two-match series.

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