Misbah-ul-Haq (110 not out) became the oldest Test centurion since 1934 to give Pakistan the upper hand over England after day one of the first Test at Lord's. The evergreen captain survived being dropped on 16 and run out on 58 before strolling to his 10th three-figure score in the longest form of the game, amid a partnership of 148 for the fifth wicket with Asad Shafiq (73).
Alastair Cook's side had made a flurry of early breakthroughs thanks to two wickets for Lancashire's Chris Woakes, but a series of dropped catches and missed opportunities ensured that world number three ranked nation in the ICC Test standings took control of the opening match of the series.
Opener Mohammad Hafeez (40) and Younis Khan (33) both contributed as Pakistan closed on 282 for 6 following a post-tea acceleration, leaving England toiling on a slow surface.
Jake Ball took his first international wicket to dismiss Azhar Ali (7), but that was a rare positive for an attack that without James Anderson often lacked discipline and invention. Steven Finn on his home ground struggled immensely with his line and will inevitably come under pressure when Ben Stokes and Anderson return to full fitness. Woakes was the pick of the seamers and took two late wickets, first of Shafiq and then nightwatchman Rahat Ali (0), who played on from the penultimate ball of the day.
Mohammad Amir's much-hyped return to the home of cricket, scene of the spot-fixing scandal in 2010, was diminished somewhat as Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat on a sun-decked morning. Despite Sri Lanka having already played England in a nine-match Super Series, there was a genuine feeling that the first of four Tests represented the start of the international summer.
In the absence of Anderson, the responsibility of taking the new ball went to Stuart Broad and he almost grasped the breakthrough as early as his third over but James Vince fumbled an edge from Hafeez. The opener was fortunate to escape another edge wide of Vince, but Shan Masood (7) was not so lucky as he was surprised by a Woakes delivery with some extra bounce.
One soon became two as Pakistan continued to offer up opportunities. Woakes was again the beneficiary with another juicy ball which Hafeez attempted to turn into the leg side and only looped into the air for Bairstow to take a simple catch.
Debutant Ball was also effective, though his first international scalp came via fortuitous circumstances. The Nottinghamshire seamer's full delivery trapped Ali lbw and after he was given out by umpire Kumar Dharmasena, a review from the Pakistan batsman proved frivolous as DRS showed the ball would have shaved left stump.
Despite the slow surface which is expected to tire as the match progresses, England were still able to create opportunities and Finn should have taken the fourth wicket of Misbah when he was on 16, but Joe Root was unable to hold on to a low catch. Partner Khan was typically frenetic at the other end, dancing around his crease whenever going on the attack and disturbing England's rhythm.
The 42-year-old soon departed after lunch as he smashed an innocuous half-volley from Broad to Moeen Ali for 33, but Misbah was unperturbed and a flurry of drives through the off-side, and through fine leg as Finn's radar went askew, helped move him to a 33rd half century. His good work was nearly undone on 58 by a typically nutty piece of Pakistan running between the wickets, as Gary Ballance missed the stumps with Misbah halfway down the track.
The assured Shafiq soon joined him on 50 with his 10th four, and the century partnership followed as Misbah saw off the threat of Ali with four boundaries from the 71st over during a rare spell of outright attacking play. Ball's return to the attack couldn't inspire England as the hosts began to tire, with the final hour allowing Pakistan to cement their dominance on the opening day.
Misbah went to the brink of his hundred with a fine reverse sweep and though he almost looped a catch for Ballance at short leg, the skipper recorded his 10th century with a single to third man to underline an encouraging opening day for the tourists – and celebrated in unusual style by reeling off some press-ups on the outfield. Woakes did claim the wicket of Shafiq, who failed to withdraw his bat in time as he found Bairstow, and nightwatchman Rahat Ali who played on to take some shine off the day for Pakistan but Misbah's display puts them in a position of some strength.