TAUNTON: Shan Masood guided Pakistan to 79 for one at lunch on the first day of their opening tour match of England at Taunton on Sunday.
Masood was 35 not out and Azhar Ali 17 not out after the loss of Mohammad Hafeez.
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 Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’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.
Left-hander Masood, playing strongly off his legs had struck six fours in his 91-ball knock come lunch.
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. –APP