Only 45.4 overs were possible on Day 1 of the second Test between England and Pakistan, but those were enough for James Anderson and Co. to dismiss half of Pakistan's side. There were multiple rain interruptions as the visiting side crawled to 126 for 5 before play was called off due to overcast conditions and poor light at the Rose Bowl, Southampton on Thursday (August 13).
Opting to bat, opener Abid Ali scored a scratchy 60 before Pakistan lost three wickets in the space of 18 runs to hand England the advantage. At stumps, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were unbeaten on 25 and 4 respectively.
The highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers, Anderson had "a bad game" at Old Trafford but the 38-year-old made it clear that he "still has quite a few more Tests left" in him. The right-arm seamer was eager to prove his critics wrong and it didn't take him too long to make a statement. Shan Masood, who scored a stunning century at Manchester, got a superb nip-backer from Anderson in the third over and ended up getting slammed right in front of the stumps. Masood now averages just 4.9 against Anderson in nine innings and has got out to him seven times.
There was a little bit of green cover on the surface which was providing ample movement to the English fast bowlers. Abid was given an early lifeline when Dominic Sibley put down a straightforward catch at third slip. There were quite a few play-and-miss moments but Abid and Azhar Ali somehow managed to survive against Anderson and Broad. Sam Curran and Chris Woakes then took over and the latter would have had Abid in his second over if Rory Burns wouldn't have dropped a sitter at second slip.
Having been in horrible form in overseas Tests, Pakistan captain Azhar displayed tremendous patience in the first session and kept the scoreboard ticking with Abid. Both Woakes and Curran were either too full or too short and didn't really test these two batsmen outside off. Curran, who came in for Jofra Archer, didn't really cause much trouble in his first spell and Joe Root had to go back to Anderson. Abid scored the majority of his runs towards the fine leg region as Woakes and Curran bowled quite a few deliveries down the leg side.
Abid didn't look very comfortable against Broad and Anderson under overcast conditions but the right-handed opener dug his heels and didn't throw his wicket away. The opener added 72 runs with Azhar for the second wicket before the latter was sent back in the hut by Anderson. The right-arm seamer kept bowling on the fourth-fifth stump and Azhar ended up edging it to the second slip where Burns finally manage to cling onto a catch. The Pakistan captain could only score 20 before falling to Anderson for the eighth time in his Test career.
There were a couple of rain breaks and the lunch and tea were respectively taken before the scheduled time. Abid did have a couple of reprieves but the 32-year-old kept going and brought up his half-century just after the second rain break. Abid however finally ran out of luck in the third session as he was finally caught in the slip cordon off Curran's bowling. Meanwhile, Asad Shafiq's struggle in this series continued as the right-hander fell to Broad for just 5.
Then came Fawad Alam at No. 6 with his Chanderpaul-esque stance, playing his first Test since 2009. After waiting for 10 years, 8 months, and 16 days, Fawad's return to red-ball cricket wasn't fruitful as the left-hander couldn't even open his account. Woakes pinned the 34-year-old right in front of the stumps and reduced Pakistan to 120 for 5. Babar has looked good so far and the onus will be on him to propel Pakistan to a competitive first-innings total.
Having not won a single away Test since their victory against England at Lord's in 2018, Pakistan are 0-1 behind and will have to win this encounter to keep the three-match series alive.