Pakistan captain becomes oldest player to score century in Test cricket format in 82 years.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq became the oldest player to score a Test century for 82 years as he helped his side recover against England at Lord’s on Thursday.
Haq was 110-not out in a Pakistan total of 282 for six at stumps on the first day of this four-match series. The 42-year-old came to the crease with Pakistan in trouble at 77 for three after he had won the toss.
But together with Asad Shafiq (73), Misbah put on 148 for the fifth wicket.
England all-rounder Chris Woakes, however, twice took two wickets in quick succession at both ends of the day. The Warwickshire paceman bowled Rahat Ali for a duck off what became Thursday’s last ball to finish with figures of four for 45 in 18 overs. But off-spinner Moeen Ali was expensive, his seven wicketless overs costing 46 runs.
The 42-year-old Haq’s achievement was all the more impressive as this was also his first Test at the “home of cricket.”
Not since England’s Patsy Hendren made a century against Australia aged 45 at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground back in 1934 had an older player scored a Test hundred. Remarkably, this was also Haq’s first Test anywhere in England.
It looked as if Haq was about to celebrate his achievement by prostrating himself on the turf in prayer. But instead he performed a series of press-ups in what appeared to be a joke aimed at critics who questioned whether he is now too old for international cricket.
The gesture also a wry reference to the pre-tour “Army-style” training camp the squad were put through at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul.
“A lot of things have been said about my technique and the outside edge, and the celebration… I promised the guys,” Misbah told Sky Sports. “We had an Army camp and every time we had to get down and do 10 press-ups. Those in my celebration can’t count because my arm was bent!”
On a more serious note, and turning to the match situation, Haq said: “We’re in a good position at the moment. We really want to score another 100 runs to give us a good chance.”
Haq was dropped on 16 by Joe Root, who grassed a tough slip chance off fast bowler Steven Finn. And he would have been run out for 58 after a mix-up with Shafiq if Gary Ballance had hit the stumps.
Haq was severe on Ali, reverse and conventionally sweeping him for four fours in an over. Another reverse sweep off Ali took him to 99.
A single to third man off Finn saw Misbah to his 10th century in 62 Tests off 154 balls with 17 boundaries.
All the pre-match hype had concerned Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir, making his return to Test cricket at Lord’s—the scene of his 2010 spot-fixing crime. But Amir, who served a five-year ban, remained a spectator on Thursday.
Pakistan’s openers got through the new ball before first-change Woakes removed them both with a burst of two wickets for five runs in 16 balls.
Shan Masood was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow. Woakes and Bairstow combined again to have Mohammad Hafeez (40) caught off a skyer.
Pakistan were 76-for two shortly after lunch when Azhar Ali was literally knocked off his feet by a yorker from Jake Ball, given a Test debut after the selectors decided against risking England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson following a shoulder injury.
Ali reviewed and Nottinghamshire quick Ball had an anxious wait before a tight umpire’s call verdict gave him a first Test wicket. “I really enjoyed my wicket,” said Ball. “When he reviewed it, I was nervous because it looked like it was sliding down but to see it clipping leg stump was really nice.”
Younis Khan made an elegant 33 before he carelessly chipped Stuart Broad to Ali at square leg. But Shafiq offered excellent support with a 130-ball innings featuring 12 fours.
He was out shortly before the close when, trying to withdraw the bat against Woakes with the new ball, he was caught behind. Woakes then made it two for none in 11 balls when he removed Ali to round off an intriguing first day.