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BUMBLE AT THE TEST: Shan Masood and Babar Azam played England perfectly

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bumble at the test shan masood and babar azam played england perfectly

That was a good toss for Pakistan to win on a dry surface with a bit more pace than the ones we saw here in Manchester for the two West Indies games. And if it’s dry, that means their two leg-spinners should come into play. 

But first they have to get runs, and I thought Shan Masood and Babar Azam played things perfectly, getting forward when they could to negate any movement – which is exactly what the West Indian batsmen failed to do.

England bowled well in the morning session, passing the bat on numerous occasions as they rotated their four seamers. But it was a different story after lunch, when there was a four-ball every over. 

Babar Azam played things perfectly against England and made a real impact on day one

Babar Azam played things perfectly against England and made a real impact on day one

It’s not what we’ve come to expect from this attack, who pride themselves on control. I did wonder whether Jimmy Anderson should have been bowling at the end he prefers: not the one named after him, but the Brian Statham End, where he can use the breeze to his advantage.

Once again, sorry about the Manchester weather: predictions of an 80 per cent chance of rain proved correct. But I guarantee – and you read it here first – that there won’t be a drop of rain over the next four days. 

In fact, it will be that hot over the weekend that they probably won’t be able to play cricket safely. Pakistan, though, have given notice: they look to be oozing class, and we’re in for a cracking series.

Every scoring shot was perfectly-executed as the 25-year-old burnished his reputation

Every scoring shot was perfectly-executed as the 25-year-old burnished his reputation

Good neighbours… 

Following on from my eyewear in the last Test from the Kylie Minogue range, the great lady herself sent me a beautiful bottle of wine and a handwritten note. I’m going to frame it. She’s my new best friend. 

Her people got in touch with mine (well, me) to find out where I lived, but I’m guessing the lockdown meant she couldn’t deliver it in person. Maybe next time. I should be so lucky. I just can’t get her out of my head…

Sloe things down a little 

Speaking of ladies, an update on Isa Guha and Ebony Rainford-Brent. I’ve worked with them both now for a couple of matches, and it’s fair to say they’re a lively pair. So I decided to test them out with my home-distilled sloe gin and gooseberry vodka. 

Turns out they’re quite thirsty, although my concoction slowed them down a touch. It’s the kind of drink you need to consume with a safety net. The alcohol percentage is off the scale!

Scent from heaven 

It was good to say hello to new faces in the commentary box this summer: Wasim Akram and Shane Warne. 

It’s fair to say Warne came bearing gifts. He presented me with a bottle from his new range of fragrance, which is one up from last time, when I got a pair of his new range of socks. 

Mind you, I’ve not smelled it yet. Knowing Warne, it’ll have a smoky odour – something like 20 Bensons…

Shane Warne is back in the commentary box and even came bearing gifts for colleagues

Shane Warne is back in the commentary box and even came bearing gifts for colleagues

Jogging, what a drag! 

You’ll have noticed all the jogging and running going on at the moment. I saw some chap the other day in a fantastic pair of shoes, plus the obligatory headband and skintight lycra top. 

He was going like the clappers – and he was smoking a fag! He’d have a draw, then carry on running. Looked in good shape, though. Might be the way forward.

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1.15pm Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Jadon Sancho deal expected, Alex Telles ‘agrees five-year deal’, Sarr considered

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1 15pm man utd transfer news live jadon sancho deal expected alex telles agrees five year deal sarr considered

THE transfer window continues for Manchester United – and reports suggest they are on the verge of landing Porto’s Alex Telles.

And the Red Devils hierarchy are also said to be confident of signing Jadon Sancho for less than the £108m Borussia Dortmund are demanding.

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1pm Chelsea transfer news LIVE: Rice offer ‘WILL be made’, Mendy says goodbye to Rennes team-mates, Kepa LATEST

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1pm chelsea transfer news live rice offer will be made mendy says goodbye to rennes team mates kepa latest

CHELSEA are close to securing the signing of stopper Edouard Mendy, who has reportedly said goodbye to his Rennes team-mates ahead of a £23m move.

And the Blues are also set to make a bid for Declan Rice as they take their extravagant transfer spending up yet another notch.

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1pm Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Aouar deal ‘this window’, Partey boost as Simeone calls Torreira, Raya LATEST

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1pm arsenal transfer news live aouar deal this window partey boost as simeone calls torreira raya latest

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG has committed his future to Arsenal by signing a new three-year deal at the Emirates.

And there is good news on the Gunners’ transfer pursuit of Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey.

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