Eng vs Pak 1st Test: England let Pakistan off the hook, feels Stewart

Former captain Alec Stewart feels England could not make the most of the overcast conditions and let Pakistan off the hook on the opening day of the first Test at the Old Trafford.

England bowlers started brightly on the rain-marred opening day, removing Abid Ali and Azhar Ali inside the team score of 50. But from there on, they were guilty of giving away easy boundaries as Babar Azam and Shan Masood capitalised on it.

The duo put on an unbeatable 96-run stand to help the visitors end the day at 139/2. Babar remained unbeaten on 69 while Masood remained not out at 46 on Wednesday.

“England set such high standards and have just beaten the West Indies. They know they are up against an even better side in Pakistan,” Stewart told Sky Sports’ ‘The Cricket Debate’.

“They were good in the first session but it was like a different side came out after Lunch. England know they let Pakistan off the hook with those overcast conditions.”

Former England pacer Dominic Cork agreed that England were poor with their bowling but was impressed by the way Masood and Babar batted.

“Pakistan played and missed in the first session and could have been two or three down but that’s cricket – you are not always going to get the edges,” said Cork.

“Pakistan left the ball really well and that made Stuart Broad and James Anderson bowl tighter to the stumps and when you do that Masood and Babar will whip you through the leg-side.

“England were striving for wickets and got greedy and didn’t stick to their plans. I think they will hold their hands up and say it wasn’t the best they ever bowled.

“Ultimately it will be about what they do on the morning (of Day Two) – if they allow Pakistan to build a big first innings Pakistan become favourites, especially with two leg-spinners,” he added.