Shan employed a rather circumspect approach in his undefeated stay at the crease, crawling to 46 not out from 152 deliveries by the end of the day's play. Defensive strokeplay was in abundance from the bat of Shan as he looked to aptly negotiate the threat of the new ball and later provide support to the fluent Babar Azam.
Shan was the standout batsman in the first session where Pakistan trudged along to the lunch interval at 51-2 in 25 overs. Elaborating on his watchful style play and a fair amount of leaves to the pacers, Shan described it as the need of the hour and what his role in the team required him to do.
"Situationally, you always look at what you have to do for the team. And we always knew that the new ball is going to be a struggle in England," Shan said as the time spent by him in the middle is already the most by a visiting opening batsman batting first in England since 2016.
"It's not easy being an opening batsman in the country. But there comes an opportunity to give your team a good start especially when you opt to bat first," he stated. "I just thought it was very important to take the shine off the ball in the first hour and make it easier for the guys coming in."
Babar Azam may be the more aesthetically pleasing partner, but Shan Masood just became the first visiting opening batsman to face over 100 deliveries batting first in a Test in England since 2016 ??— Cricingif (@_cricingif) August 5, 2020
Is he the most improved batsman in the side?#CricketForAll | #ENGvPAK ???????????????????? pic.twitter.com/BKQBl24LFr
Despite coming through the testing period unscathed, Shan's low strike rate generated a bit of criticism on Pakistan's slow progress. A perception developed during the day that the lack of free-flowing shots from Shan might hurt Pakistan through the course of this match.
Responding to this critique, Shan highlighted the numerous rain delays that kept disturbing the momentum of the batsmen. The stop-start situation created by the unpleasant weather presumably prevented Shan and Babar from taking the attack to the bowlers more profoundly.
"You have to apply yourself each time there is a stop-start situation. It is similar to a tea break, lunch interval or resuming play the next day. All batsmen require time to regather their momentum," he added.
"In the final session, it was important for us to keep the wickets intact since a lot of overs did not seem possible. I think we maintained a reasonable run rate considering the conditions today. We scored close to three runs an over and have given a good platform to build on."
Shan felt dealing with nerves coming into Test cricket following an extended gap due to the coronavirus pandemic was also an important factor.
"You can expect a bit of rustiness here and there since we haven't played international cricket for three [five] months.
"We've gotten good practice across five weeks but international cricket is completely different, especially against a side that has already played three Test matches on the bounce."
Shan's patient vigil was not without a couple of lucky let-offs that came at the expense of off-spinner Dom Bess. The young Englishman should have had Shan out on 45 twice but wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped a catch and missed a stumping on either side of the rain break.
"The game of cricket is funny, you get an element of fortune every now and then and when you do, you have to make it count," Shan reacted.
"Whatever chances you get, you try and capitalise on it. As a team, being in a stop-start position is not always easy because you have to switch on and off again. We're happy we got through that period and I'm hoping we can make a decent start count," he concluded.