England v Pakistan Tests
Amir makes dramatic return to Lord's
Controversial Pakistani quick in the thick of the action on an eventful day two of the first Test
Louis Cameron at Lord's
15 July 2016, 09:01 PM AEST
Pakistan bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed has admitted Mohammad Amir was “nervous” in his return to the scene of his spot-fixing crime, with the pace sensation in the thick of the action on day two of the first Test at Lord’s.
Playing his first Test since he deliberately bowled no-balls at the home of cricket in 2010, all eyes were on the young left-armer, one of the most promising fast bowlers in the world.
SCORECARD: England v Pakistan, day two
Mushtaq acknowledged that the mostly positive reception from the home crowd – which may not be repeated at the other venues for the Test series – helped put Amir at ease.
"Yes, Amir was nervous today to be honest with you but we can all understand that,” Mushtaq told reporters after the day’s play.
"It was great to see that he has a good temperament and I want to say, thank you to all of the crowd. They were very good to him.
"It was very nice. They just want to see a good cricketer, playing good cricket.
"I think Amir is a top-class cricketer and I hope he can play lots of cricket for Pakistan. In his last spell when he bowled he was feeling much more confident and much more relaxed."
Coming to the crease early on day two in Pakistan's first innings, Amir was greeted by two well-directed Stuart Broad bouncers on the first two deliveries of his comeback.
He French-cut the first for four before he ducked into the second, copping the blow flush on the helmet.
After a quick inspection of his protective gear, he managed an exquisite off-driven four off Chris Woakes before edging Broad to second slip to end Pakistan's first innings at 339.
The attention then turned to how Amir, who opened the bowling from the Member's end – the same end he deliberately bowled no-balls from in 2010 – would fare with the new Dukes ball.
The left-armer bowled with lively pace in his opening spell but initially struggled for control, conceding 14 runs from his first two overs.
Amir looked to have settled when he induced an edge from Alastair Cook off a back-of-a-length delivery straight to Mohammad Hafeez at first slip.
But the Pakistan opener fumbled the straight-forward opportunity to deny Amir's chance to claim his first Test wicket in nearly six years.
And he was cruelly denied once again when wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed grassed another opportunity off Cook on 55.
Amir had the last laugh however, finally getting his man when he had the England skipper chopping on for 81, sparking a trademark 'aeroplane' celebration from the 24-year-old, who finished with 1-65 from 18 overs.