With all the fanfare and spotlight blazing straight on the silhouette of a certain Babar Azam, it must have taken something special, extraordinary for the opener Shan Masood to hog the limelight at Old Trafford.
Masood exhibited tremendous grit and flamboyance to lit up the cricket aficionado with a terrific century on an otherwise dark and gloomy day in Manchester. Azam largely played a supporting role to the protagonist Masood.
The crux of Pakistan’s total of 326 in the first innings was built on Masood’s career-best 156 of 319 balls. The century was third on a trot – following his knock of 135 against Sri Lanka in 2019 and 100 against Bangladesh in February 2020.
The 30-years-old also became the first opener from Pakistan to reach a three-figure score since Saeed Anwar achieved this feat at The Oval in 1996.
Masood looked unflustered by the much-talked-about hostility of English pacers as he dealt with all of them with an ease and nonchalance rarely seen from the subcontinental batsmen.
After posting a daunting total on board, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas made no mistake to get some early wickets and put the home team on the backfoot. The likes of Ben Stokes, Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley walked back to pavilion inside the first ten overs, reducing England to 12/3.
England will resume their first innings on Day 3 from 92/4 with Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope on the crease.
The cricketing fraternity was pleased with Masood’s innings as they showered praise for the southpaw on Twitter.
Here are some of the best Tweets:
Wonderful ton by @shani_official, made England pay for the missed chances. Important contribution from @babarazam258 and @76Shadabkhan. Pakistan have a good score on the board for their bowlers to bowl to. Game on. #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/xnCnpVDmaf
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) August 6, 2020
— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) August 6, 2020
Just love the organizational skills of Shan Masood this innings. Great judgment in playing adequately forward or back to the length.
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) August 6, 2020
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) August 6, 2020
— Kamran Akmal (@KamiAkmal23) August 6, 2020
Very pleased for Shan Masood, a man who has fought hard for his opportunity! 💯 #ENGvPAK
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) August 6, 2020
What a determined innings ! @shani_official ! Congratulations on your #100 – showed great resilience & what a fight back. Well done young man.
— Azhar Mahmood (@AzharMahmood11) August 6, 2020
— Danny Morrison (@SteelyDan66) August 6, 2020
Shandaar Masood 👏👏 #EngvPak
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) August 6, 2020
Very Mature & Classic innings by @shani_official 😍👋🏼👍🏼 Many more to come SHABASH
— Mohammad Hafeez (@MHafeez22) August 6, 2020