Yasir Shah hails Pakistan mentors after Lord’s triumph
Shah’s return of 10 for 141, including Sunday’s second-innings figures of four for 69, was pivotal to Pakistan’s 75-run win over England in the first of a four-Test series at Lord’s on Sunday.
Significantly, the 30-year-old leg-spinner bowled Jonny Bairstow for 48 as he ended the England anchorman’s more than three hours of resistance.
Bairstow’s exit proved the telling blow, with England losing their last four wickets for 12 runs as they were dismissed for 207 in pursuit of a victory target of 283.
Remarkably, this was Shah’s first Test outside of Asia and the United Arab Emirates.
But in bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and tour manager Intikhab Alam, both former Pakistan leg-spinners, he had plenty of experience to call upon.
As well as playing Tests in England, the pair also enjoyed county careers, with the 74-year-old Alam representing Surrey for several seasons, while Ahmed enjoyed spells at Somerset, Sussex and Surrey.
On Sunday, Shah was dismissed for his overnight Test-best 30, but then quickly set about building on his six for 72 from England’s first innings.
“My effort was to do well with bat, but I could not, so I tried to do it with the ball later on,” he said.
“The thing is the spinner is relied upon on the fourth and fifth day.
“I am fortunate that Mushy is here and Intikhab Alam is our manager. They share their experiences and we execute that on the ground.”
Meanwhile victorious captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who helped forge Pakistan’s strong position in the match with a first-innings century in his maiden Test at Lord’s, praised his team’s resilience.
“I am really proud of the team, the way that they fought and just come out and show really good skills and mentally everyone was strong. It was a really good win for us,” he said.
This was Pakistan’s first Test at Lord’s since the infamous 2010 spot-fixing scandal.
That fixture saw Pakistan left-arm quick Mohammad Amir, together with fellow paceman Mohammad Asif and then captain Salman Butt, given five-year bans and jail sentences for conspiring to deliberately bowl no-balls as part of a newspaper sting operation.
“It has been a remarkable turnaround after the 2010 incident and the team took responsibility,” said the 42-year-old Misbah, who in making 114 out of Pakistan’s first innings 339 became the oldest player to compile a Test century in 82 years.
“The players showed respect for the game over the last three years and we are the number three (Test) side in the world,” he added after South African Mickey Arthur’s first Test as Pakistan head coach ended in a resounding victory.
No England batsman made a century in the match and their second innings on Sunday was without an individual fifty.
England captain Alastair Cook, who top-scored for the hosts with 81 in the first innings, refused to blame the defeat on the absence of star bowler James Anderson and all-rounder Ben Stokes, both deemed unfit by the selectors.
“I think we were 100 runs light in the first innings,” Cook said.
Pakistan now lead the four-Test series 1-0 but England, who are due to name their squad on Monday, could have both Anderson and Stokes available for Friday’s second Test at Old Trafford.
“It’s disappointing but the beauty of a four-Test series is that you’ve got chances to come back and that’s exactly what we’ll aim to do,” said Cook.
“We played some naive shots.”
One consolation for England was the form of all-rounder Chris Woakes who had excellent match figures of 11 for 102.
“Before Sri Lanka I said we hadn’t seen the best of Chris Woakes, and if he can keep that level it will be pretty good,” said Cook of the Warwickshire pace bowler.0
The build-up to this match had been dominated by Amir’s return, with Cook saying that if he had his way all fixers would be banned for life.
But despite England’s defeat, Cook added: “I’m glad, we’re talking about four days of good cricket.”