Mark Wood was already up for ‘round two’ against Misbah-ul-Haq as he came to terms with a frustrating first day of the second Test for England in Dubai.
Wood was the pick of an England attack who worked hard but failed to stop Pakistan captain Misbah giving his team the edge with a calculated century.
Misbah’s first, very significant, contribution was to win his second successive toss in the three-match series – and he then went on to ensure a recovery from 85-3 to 282-4 at stumps, in stands of 93 with Younus Khan (56) and then an unbroken 104 alongside Asad Shafiq.
Misbah, international cricket’s current elder statesman, used all his experience to withstand England’s best efforts in an often stoic innings - but a characteristically curious one too, which contained five sixes.
Two came in succession off Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid and then another two in three balls from England’s other spinner Moeen Ali. Misbah also completed both his 50 and his hundred with reverse-sweeps off Moeen – and Wood admitted the 41-year-old undoubtedly had the upper hand, even though he was discomforted by the short ball on more than one occasion.
“I know I hit Misbah a couple of times,” he said. “But he’s still out there and has a hundred ... so I guess that’s 1-0 to him, and I’ll have to try again (on day two).
“I had a good battle with him. I tried to be aggressive at him, but he dealt with it really well.”
Wood was far from flattered with his figures of 1-26, and James Anderson and Ben Stokes also bowled well enough to pick up more wickets.
“I don’t think we can be too disheartened – we can hold our heads up high,” added Wood.
“They’ve played well and sometimes that happens. We’ve put in a good, hard shift.”