Only Alastair Cook spared England’s blushes as they began their Test summer with a limp batting performance which handed the initiative to Pakistan at Lord’s.
Cook returned to form in his world record-equalling 153rd consecutive Test with a battling 70, but received precious little lasting support as Mohammad Abbas (four for 23) and Hasan Ali (four for 51) hustled the hosts out for 184.
After Joe Root chose to bat at the start of this two-match NatWest Series, England collectively failed to handle awkward conditions and lost their last five wickets for 16 runs in under five overs.
There was still time under largely unshifting cloud cover and eventually floodlights for Pakistan to reply with 50 for one at stumps.
When England were capitulating to 58 all out in Auckland two months ago, or with alacrity too on several occasions during their winter Ashes defeat, the consolation was that they should hold sway again this summer.
Home form has been their salvation in recent years – but on day one here, they endured a false start with the bat.
A damning stat that sums up a major problem - 19.68 – The paltry average return of Cook-Stoneman opening stands puts England’s current partnership almost seven runs ‘clear’ at the very bottom of the national all-time list.
However, there was some forgettable moments for Pakistan as well as England during day one, which can be proven in the below video.
However, the major concern is with England, and given their current Test form, it's not looking promising for them.
As for Cook, he also features in the next worst opening partnerships too – alongside Root with 26.63 in their 2013-16 alliance of 11 innings together.
England’s all-time record run-scorer arrived back on duty short of his favoured currency over the past eight months – save for his double-century on an unacceptably flat Melbourne pitch in the Boxing Day Test. While others fluffed their lines, though – with a little fortune via some plays and misses to go with his renowned determination and skill – Cook delivered when he had to.
More wickets. Especially if cloud cover persists, this Test is unlikely to extend to a full five days.
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