Misbah-ul-Haq’s century celebration was a tribute to the Pakistani Army officers who helped his team prepare for this tour.
Misbah saluted before doing ten push ups when he reached his hundred and then acknowledging the applause of a full house at Lord’s.
This is a ground unaccustomed to showy displays of emotion which made Misbah’s celebration all the more striking.
But given this was his first ever Test innings in England at the age of 42 his joy was understandable. He also became only the fifth Pakistani to score a Test hundred at Lord’s in almost 50 years.
He now occupies a place on the Lord’s honours board alongside the greats of Pakistan cricket: Inzamam ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohsin Khan and Hanif Mohammad.
“It is a dream to play at Lord’s especially getting a hundred. To have your name on the honours board is something special for all cricketers,” he said. “I rate this innings at top in Test cricket. I am really happy about that.”
His hundred was dedicated to the instructors at an army boot camp in Abbottabad where Pakistan spent two weeks training before flying to England. Old stagers Misbah and Younus Khan came top in the fitness tests.
“That was my promise to the army guys when we did our training camp,” he said. “We used to have an honour code where we were told to step into the ground and do ten push ups. I promised them whenever I got hundred I would do that to remind them (Army) we were there. That was for them and the salute was for the (Pakistan) flag. That was what they asked us to do so I did it for them.”
The loss of two wickets to the new ball took the edge of Misbah’s day and he believes they have to score more than another 100 runs today to be in a strong position.
“It would have been really nice if Asad (Shafiq) and me batted out the day and been not out but they just came back in the game,” he said. “We need to score at least 400 runs on this pitch. There is still a lot of hard work to do. If we get to 400 we can put pressure on England.
“We really worked hard in terms of fitness and acclimatising before this match. All those points are really helping us. The batsmen are really now adjusting to these conditions now and have got some runs under their belt. They are confident and know the conditions a little bit.”
Jake Ball was one of the most disciplined England bowlers, beating Misbah’s outside edge three times in one over. Ball, who received his Test cap in the morning from his tearful uncle, Bruce French, felt he proved he can play at this level.
He looked nervous in his first spell but bowled really well after lunch taking his first Test wicket, conceding only four runs in six overs.
“To just see how proud we are as a family and to receive my cap from my uncle was an extra special moment,” he said. “He was holding back the tears which was extra special again. It settled me down that little bit. I am a calm character. Yesterday people were texting me and giving me advice and saying just go out and enjoy it and do what I have been doing all season. I did that and hopefully I proved to people I can play Test cricket.
“Definitely the late wickets have helped us. We said up in the dressing room at the end that the two wickets have given everyone big lift. If we can get a couple more quick wickets and restrict them to 350 we are well in the game.”