Saturday, 23 October 2021

Shan Masood joins elite list with century in first England Test

Mohammad Abbas celebrates after bowling Ben Stokes / Getty Images

MANCHESTER: On a largely gloomy day, Shan Masood and Pakistan fast bowlers lit up Old Trafford. The opener Masood’s 319-ball 156 drained England bowlers and laid the foundation of a competitive total before his pace colleagues dealt early blows to leave England tottering at 92 for 4 at stumps.

If the indication is anything to go by, Pakistan’s first innings total of 326 already looks daunting, particularly after Joe Root fell to the leg spinner Yasir Shah, underlining the formidable attack that has everything from swing and seam to spin.

Masood reached triple figures by running two off James Anderson during the second session’s play today to complete a hat-trick of centuries.

He is also the first Pakistani opener in the 21st century to score a hundred in England. Last Pakistani opener to reach three figures in England was Saeed Anwar who scored 176 at the Oval Test in 1996.

The 30-year-old left-handed batter is the first overseas opener to score a century in the first innings of a Test in England since 2015 — the last one to reach a three-figure individual score in first innings of a Test in England was Australia’s Chris Rogers, who scored 173 at the Lord’s Cricket Ground back in 2015.

This is Masood’s third consecutive three-figure innings, which makes him the sixth Pakistani cricketer to score 100 in three consecutive innings after Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, and Misbah-ul-Haq.

He is also the third Pakistani batter — and the second opener — to score a century at Old Trafford, Manchester. Before him, Inzamam-ul-Haq scored a century here in 2001 and Aamer Sohail in 1992.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan has never lost a Test match when an opener has scored a century in England. Fans hope the team will continue this tradition and end the Manchester Test on a positive note.

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