Cricket Expert & Columnist
Nasser Hussain says Pakistan have done country proud over first two days against England at Lord's
"Pakistan look after each other and are busy between the wickets, something that was evident in the near-century stand between Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf."
Last Updated: 26/05/18 5:17pm
Nasser Hussain hails Pakistan's discipline and guts after they carved out a 166-run lead over England on day two of the first Test at Lord's…
Apart from one ball - Sarfraz Ahmed's shot to get caught at fine leg - Mickey Arthur will be so proud of his Pakistan team over the last two days. They have been outstanding.
Pakistan should also be proud as a nation. Their side bowled with discipline, caught brilliantly - just compare it to England's catching - and have now been well-organised with the bat in conditions that are not easy and with Ben Stokes and Mark Wood bowling hostile spells.
In all three disciplines, Pakistan have led the way.
When they drew in England two years ago, I think they were a bit reliant on senior players, such as Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan and Mohamad Amir.
Now you notice a culture change. They look after each other and are busy between the wickets, something that was evident in the near-century stand between Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf.
Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and co showed good defence and played the ball late, right underneath them and with soft hands so if they did nick it, it went down - a lot of England players, in contrast, played way out in front and went hard at the ball
Pakistan also played with guts. Their one issue, I suppose, is that they are missing a No 6, with Sarfraz a place too high in that spot. That's why England could have bowled first on Thursday.
I'd also pinpoint Pakistan's preparation. A lot of teams don't prepare well enough for Test cricket but Pakistan have come over early, played that Test in Ireland, and look ready.
You could argue their preparation has been better than England's, who have had one or two coming back from the IPL and few players in any kind of first-class form.
Stokes is one of those back from the IPL and, to be fair, his performance on Friday was the best he has bowled since returning to the side. He pitched it up, got the ball to swing and was fast and accurate.
I think his well-documented absence impacted more on his bowling than his batting - bowling is a rhythm thing and bowlers love to bowl, whereas with the bat you can get into nick pretty quickly.
Ben has also tinkered slightly with his action and run-up so it will take time but he has looked as good as he has in a long time. Babar certainly felt his force with that hit on the forearm.
Stuart Broad, especially up front, was also tighter with his length on day two, although James Anderson, after being driven for four twice in an over, dragged his length back a little bit.
You can see, though, that they are not being stubborn anymore. England bowling coach Chris Silverwood has drummed into them about bowling full, something Pakistan showed was the way to go.
Dom Bess, meanwhile, has done absolutely fine for a young spinner on debut on day two at Lord's in May - remember, he has never played at this ground before either.
I like the way he wants to set his own fields - he overruled Joe Root when the captain wanted a man on the boundary. He also bowled a fairly attacking line, bringing the outside edge into play at the Nursery End, and tossed it up outside off-stump.
I think England were right to select him over Moeen Ali once Jack Leach got injured. Moeen is a very fine cricketer but when you bring someone back in there has to be a reason and after his difficult winter, he now needs to get back scoring runs and taking wickets for Worcestershire.
He's certainly an option later this summer, though - he bowled very well the last time India were over here in 2014.
England also need to tighten up in the slip cordon - they've been fragile in there for a while. If you ask Trevor Bayliss what's the one thing that has wound him up, I reckon he'd say slip catching. They've shelled a few and even though they put it right at times, it then comes back to haunt them.
Four or five dropped catches in this Test have helped Pakistan into a very sizeable lead.
Watch day three of the first Test from 10am on Saturday on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) and Sky Sports Main Event (channel 401).