Babar Azam punishes sloppy England with fine fifty in first Test

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Babar Azam struck a fluent unbeaten half-century as Pakistan closed a rain-shorted first day of the first Test against England on 139 for two at a gloomy and wet Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Babar (69 not out) showed all his skill and class to weather an early storm from the England bowlers, and wrestle away the initiative along with the more sedate opener Shan Masood (46 not out).

England were superb before lunch, heading into the interval with Pakistan on 53 for two, but wayward and tepid after the break as the tourists piled on 68 runs in 16.1 overs before rain brought an early tea.

The players came back late in the day for 7.5 overs, but bad light meant England had to bowl spinners Dom Bess and Joe Root, and Pakistan were able to see off their threat.