Misbah out for duck in Pakistan opener


Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq fell for nought in his side’s opening match of their England tour against Somerset at Taunton on Sunday.

At tea on the first day of this three-day fixture Pakistan were 182 for four

Younis Khan was 32 not out and Asad Shafiq 20 not out.

This was Pakistan’s first first-class match on English soil since their controversial “spot-fixing” tour of 2010.

During that year’s Test against England at Lord’s, Mohammad Amir and Pakistan new-ball partner Mohammad Asif bowled no-balls to order on the instructions of their captain Salman Butt as part of a sting operation carried out by a tabloid newspaper.

All three received five-year bans from cricket and, together with sports agent Mazhar Majeed, jail terms.

However, Amir returned to international cricket earlier this year and could make his Test comeback at Lord’s, where Pakistan face England in the first of a four-Test series on July 14.

Amir was included in the Pakistan side selected for the three-day match against Somerset.

But his return to bowling competitively in England was delayed by Misbah’s decision to bat first against Somerset after winning the toss.

Mohammad Hafeez was on nought when he survived a confident lbw shout from Somerset and Scotland seamer Josh Davey.

Hafeez later hooked Davey over fine leg and pulled him over mid-wicket for two sixes in as many balls.

He was then reprieved by Davey on 17 when the bowler dropped a return catch.

But Dutch bowler Paul van Meekeren made the breakthrough when he bowled Hafeez for 20.

Pakistan were 79 for one at lunch but lost three wickets in the second session against Somerset’s multi-national attack.

Azhar Ali (20) was well caught by diving wicket-keeper Alex Barrow off van Meekeren.

Left-handed opener Shan Masood, strong off his pads, was dropped by Davey on 17 when the bowler failed to hold a return catch and missed down the legside on 39 when Barrow couldn’t cling on to a tough chance.

But in between the reprieves he batted attractively until, on 62, he was lbw to seamer Tim Groenewald.

Two balls later Groenewald, born in the same South African town as former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, had Misbah out for a duck with the aid of a fine slip catch by Tim Rouse.

At tea, Groenewald had taken two for 24 in 12 overs and van Meekeren two for 31.

The luckless Davey was wicketless after former England batsman Marcus Trescothick dropped a tough slip catch when Younis Khan was on 20.

This fixture is Pakistan’s first of two three-day games before the first Test at Lord’s, with the Pakistanis also playing Sussex at Hove from July 8-10.