Pakistan 282 for 6 (Misbah 110*, Shafiq 73, Woakes 4-45) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A story about the return of one Pakistan player to Lord's became a tale about the maiden appearance at the ground of another, as Misbah-ul-Haq's unbeaten century on his first Test in England led his side into a strong position on the opening day. Misbah's correct call at the toss delayed the much-anticipated return to the fray of Mohammad Amir but his efforts ensured this would be still be an occasion for Pakistan - and cricket romantics of every persuasion - to remember.

Alastair Cook had also wanted to bat first on a pitch that has had to withstand regular unseasonal soakings over recent weeks and on what turned out to be a fine summer's day it was easy to see why. Still, four wickets for Chris Woakes - including bowling nightwatchman Rahat Ali with the last ball of the day - and an impressive showing from the debutant, Jake Ball, meant England's attack was not entirely quelled by a commanding, 148-run stand between Misbah and Asad Shafiq as an occasionally cloudy afternoon melted into a sunlit evening.

At the age of 42 years and 47 days, Misbah became the sixth-oldest man to make a century in Tests. After jogging the single to take him to three figures shortly before 6pm, he gestured to his team-mates on the pavilion balcony before getting down to do a series of push-ups - further proof, if any were needed, of his supreme levels of fitness. He has been the pillar that held up Pakistan cricket in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal that erupted on this ground back in 2010 and it was symbolically apt that he played the same role on the field in their first match back in England since those dark days.

There are many threads to the tapestry of this tour beyond the redemptive element of Amir's return, not least Pakistan's qualities as a team. The first day of the series immediately flagged that they would provide stiffer opposition than Sri Lanka, the visitors to England earlier in the summer, and while Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan would have been disappointed not to build on useful starts, Misbah and Shafiq were not so profligate.

Misbah had never before batted in a Test in England, never played more than a few T20 innings at Lord's, but he was not going to overawed by his first outing. Eight months ago, after leading his side to a 2-0 win over England in the UAE, he was contemplating retirement but he eventually decided to carry on in the belief that Pakistan would need him on this tour. It was clear to see why when he strode out with his side 77 for 3, bearded and resolute, a grizzled captain leading his men into uncharted waters and ready to repel all boarders.

"Let's go to work," was the slogan from Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film Reservoir Dogs and in Misbah and Younis, Pakistan have a couple of experienced wiseguys capable of doing a number on England. You have to go back to the 1990s for the last time Pakistan won a Test at Lord's and their chances here relied on an experienced batting order being able to give a much-vaunted attack something to bowl at. England managed to chisel out Younis but, in the shape of Shafiq, there was another, equally determined Mr Green ready to step in and do business.

England had resorted to subcontinental bowling plans, with short extra cover and short midwicket, by the time Stuart Broad coaxed a thick edge from Shafiq, on 34, but with only one slip in place the ball flew wide of Cook's despairing dive. A clubbed square cut for four off Moeen Ali - who Pakistan never allowed to settle and conceded 46 runs from his seven overs - took him to a fifth 50-plus score against England but, with the shadows lengthening a feathered edge off Woakes finally broke the stand. Rahat then dragged on to give the persevering Woakes his best Test figures.

Misbah and Shafiq might have been separated sooner, when a mix up left both batsmen running to the same end. Gary Ballance, making his own comeback after a year out of the side, threw hastily at the striker's stumps when a lob to the bowler would have done the trick. Pakistan were on 184 for 4 at the time and still going about their recovery from being three down shortly after lunch.

Ball nearly claimed a maiden Test wicket with his second ball but eventually removed Azhar Ali, to follow an early brace for Woakes in the morning session. Never mind devil, there was nothing so much as a mischievous imp in the pitch but Ball took that out of the equation with a yorker that knocked Azhar off his feet, though the No. 3 left the field shaking his head after utilising the DRS only for the Hawk-Eye to back-up Kumar Dharmasena's decision that the ball was hitting leg stump by the finest of margins.

Misbah began cautiously and he had made 2 from 19 balls when he gloved a Broad bouncer high and wide of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow for his first boundary. A thin inside edge saved him from being lbw to Ball walking across his stumps on 11 and he might have been taken at second slip on 16, when the wayward Steven Finn found his outside edge only for Joe Root to shell a low chance, but he remained unperturbed.

He unfurled some more aggressive strokes during Moeen's exploratory overs, as well as taking easy runs off Finn. Later in the day, in struck four fours in five balls off Moeen - two sweeps, two reverse-sweeps - to move into the 90s and emphasise his mastery over England's spinner.

Despite Finn's struggle, the bowlers did have some success. Memories had begun to drift back to England's toil in the UAE following another fifty stand between Misbah and Younis when the latter, batting out of his crease such was the docility of the pitch, flicked a Broad delivery straight to midwicket to depart for 33.

They had earlier pegged Pakistan back after a 38-run opening stand that involved a little bit of luck alongside some proactive batting from Hafeez. Anticipation of Amir's first involvement had given way to a moment for Ball to savour and he nearly struck in his opening Test spell, Cook generously deigning to review an lbw decision against Shan Masood only for the replays to confirm Dharmasena's suspicion the ball had pitched outside leg.

Ball acquitted himself well as the stand-in for James Anderson, pushing the speed gun up towards 89mph and troubling both of the Pakistan openers. Hafeez could have been taken on 11, when a drive at Broad resulted in a thick edge low to the left of James Vince at third slip but he could not hold on one-handed. The same batsman flashed wide of the slips off Ball in the 10th over and Masood followed suit, off Woakes, moments after.

Woakes, though, found success shortly before the drinks break, inducing a thin edge from Masood with a delivery than bounced a touch more than expected. He had his second four overs later when Hafeez, who had gambolled his way to 40, finally fell in lackadaisical fashion, trying to flip across the line only to offer a straightforward catch to Bairstow running across towards square leg.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick