Debutant Luke Wood takes three wickets as England restrict Pakistan total

·2-min read
Luke Wood took three for 27 in the opening T20  (Getty Images)
Luke Wood took three for 27 in the opening T20 (Getty Images)

England kept the score to 158 for seven in the Twenty20 series opener against Pakistan team in Karachi, as they began their first tour of the country in almost 17 years.

The home side made a powerful start having been inserted by England’s stand-in skipper, Moeen Ali, with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam posting 85 in 57 balls at the top of the order.

But England dragged it back impressively, Adil Rashid getting the ball rolling and debutant seamer Luke Wood banking three for 27.

Pakistan got off to a flier, piercing the in-field with regularity as Rizwan (68) and Babar (31) made good use of a lightning outfield.

They took a particular liking to David Willey, who was unable to extract his usual swing with the new ball, as he leaked 26 from two costly overs at the top.

Lancashire left-armer Wood had a solid introduction to international cricket, allowing just 12 off his first two overs and managing a strangled lbw appeal against Rizwan, but by the end of the powerplay the score had raced away to 51 without loss.

Moeen went straight to spin in a bid to curb the scoring only for Rizwan to skip down the track and lift his fifth delivery for six down the ground. Rashid enjoyed better luck, getting England’s first breakthrough in the 10th over after deceiving Babar.

Rashid sent down a flat googly that caught the batter cold, skidded through and hit middle and off. The wicket checked Pakistani progress for a moment, allowing Richard Gleeson to hurry through a cheap set, before Rizwan slammed Rashid for a second six into the leg-side.

England successfully shut down Haider Ali at number three, restricting him to a scratchy 11 before he holed out off Sam Curran, but the fall of Rizwan soon after was a major blow. Moeen was the bowler, hurling down a flatter ball and having the opener stumped on the charge.

Wicketkeeper Phil Salt attempted to burgle another stumping off the very next delivery, hovering behind Iftikhar Ahmed after a wide call before flicking the bails and appealing. He seemed unhappy when the umpires called the ball dead but did not labour the point.

Shan Masood gave future Yorkshire team-mate Rashid a second wicket when he mis-cued a reverse sweep and Wood joined the party in memorable fashion. He uprooted Mohammad Nawaz’s stumps and then had Iftikhar and Naseem Shah caught at the death as the runs dried up.