Misbah-ul-Haq spearheaded Pakistan’s batting on the first day of the Test series against England, his 110* taking the visitors to 282/6 at stumps, but the bigger talking point from Lord’s has been the way he celebrated after he reached his century, his 10th Test ton. He gave a salute towards the pavilion, dropped to his knees, and proceeded to do a series of ten push-ups.
As partner Asad Shafiq smiled on, Misbah underlined his defiance of age with the speed of the push-ups, and by springing to his feet with a smile at the end of it.
“That was my promise to the army guys,” Misbah said afterwards. “We did a camp in Abbottabad before the skill camp in Lahore, and we used to do an honour code every time, we just stepped into the ground and did ten push-ups. And I promised them, if ever I score a hundred, I will definitely do that to remind you that we were there.”
He also admitted as an aside that his drill sergeant would probably have asked him to do ten more because his arms had been too bent the first time around, but nobody on the ground had any such complaints. Lord’s was cheering the oldest Test centurion in 82 years, and the oldest captain to score a Test century ever.
Patsy Hendren had scored a century in 1934 at the age of 44, in a bygone era when many batsmen played into their forties and even fifties. Nobody knows what Misbah’s secret is, but the captain thinks his longevity must be credited partly to the boot camps with the army.
On the records he scaled, Misbah said, “These records are always something special, and you are satisfied at getting these achievements, but the main thing is to perform for your team and country.”
Pakistan were in a familiar spot of bother at 77/3 when Misbah came to bat Day 1, who then combined with Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq to play out the remainder of the day. There were two quick wickets which fell at the very end, but a fighting first innings total can be envisaged.
Misbah said, “Obviously, we worked really hard in terms of our fitness and skills, and in terms of acclimatising. All those aspects are really helping us. The batsmen are now adjusting to these conditions, they have got runs under their belts so they are confident, and now everyone is looking in good shape so that really helped us today.”
There had been reports that Misbah and Younis Khan had been among the few who had passed the boot camp organised by the PCB before the England tour.