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Special family moment caps Ball's steady Test debut

By Nick Purewal

Jake Ball believes he has proven his Test-match calibre with his wicket-taking debut against Pakistan at Lord's.

The Nottinghamshire seamer snared Azhar Ali leg before to get off the mark in the Test arena on the opening day of the four-match series against Pakistan.

Ball admitted receiving his first cap from uncle and England wicketkeeping coach Bruce French proved the perfect pre-match boost as Pakistan reached 282 for six on the opening day.

Misbah-ul-Haq became the sixth-oldest century-maker of all time in Test matches with an unbeaten 110, but Chris Woakes' four wickets helped England keep in touch.

Ball, who ended the day with creditable figures of one for 51 from 19 overs, said: "People were texting me to give me advice. It was just to go out and enjoy it, and be myself and do what I've been doing all season.

"I think I'm quite a calm character, and I took that advice into today and hopefully I did that and proved to people that I can play at Test level."

Two late wickets from Woakes left Ball to admit Trevor Bayliss' men must capitalise today.

Proud to receive his debut cap from a family member, Ball said he will never forget the on-pitch embrace with French before the Test swung into action.

"That settled me down," said Ball. "He just said how proud the whole family are of me.

"To receive it from my uncle was an extra-special moment. He was holding back the tears, so that was extra-special again.

"The two late wickets have given everybody a big lift."

At 42 years and 47 days, Pakistan captain Misbah nudged up the list of the oldest Test centurions. He said: "I rate this as my top innings in Test cricket and I'm really happy about that.

"It's a dream to play in Lord's, especially getting 100, and the name on the honours board is something special. But the main thing is just to keep achieving for your country."

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