The rust took a little while to fall from limbs not much used lately and, if they were hardly looking like a well-oiled outfit throughout the proceedings, it is highly probable that they will not require much lubrication come the Lord's Test later next month. They played what may well be their Test XI against Glamorgan, who reciprocated in the way that counties do, by giving a rest to some senior players and a chance to some youngsters.
Doubtless Pakistan would like to have batted. Even the Pontypridd ground, flanked by hills and surrounded by trees, through which pokes the obligatory DIY superstore, managed to look less than cheerful. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, the most vaunted pace attack in the world, were hardly danger personified as they gently launched themselves into the opening first- class fixture of Pakistan's tour. Waqar tried several times to re-adjust his length to something approaching normality; Wasim came over and then round the wicket, but discovered that there was no swing.
For now, Stephen James and Alun Evans went along at four runs an over. Evans, 20, and in his third match, must have tried to pinch himself when he pulled the great Wasim backward of square leg for six. Well before lunch, Mushtaq Ahmed was on. In his hustling way the diminutive leg spinner has been almost as significant to Pakistan as the fast-bowling duo, so this was hardly a shock. What was truly surprising was that it took him until the second over to make his first leg-before appeal of the day. It was as insistent as ever and not the least of the diversions in the Test series will be to compare his style of appealing with that of the imploring Dominic Cork.
While Ata-ur-Rehman, a third seamer with the right stuff, removed both Evans and David Hemp - who was playing in his first match since April and could have done without one that bounced - Mushtaq whirled away unchanged for 24 overs. There was a modicum of turn, not much bounce. But he gradually discovered a semblance of rhythm. He persuaded Gary Butcher to carve him off the back foot to cover and then Alistair Dalton to drive forlornly to mid-off. These were careless shots which will not be expected of England's batsmen later in the summer, but they were still an indication of the sort of errors irritating leg-spinners can induce in players from England.
It took Wasim to remove James whose only false shot was his last. In his stoic way he had created a watchable innings, but he was finally caught at second slip driving extravagantly.
It may not be Wasim's only such ensnarement this summer. After Matthew Maynard's pleasant but brief stay (a familiar tale), the Glamorgan tail was whittled away. Waqar, building up a head of steam, struck twice and left an hour for Pakistan to bat. During this, Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar went through the sort of motions - albeit against some fairly undistinguished new-ball bowling - which could give England cause for queasy tummies.Reuse content