Pakistan captain Azhar Ali "missed a trick" several times in the opening Test against England and their three-wicket loss will hurt the team and their fans, according to bowling great Wasim Akram. 

Ali and his men held the upper hand for most part of the series opener and had England, chasing 277 for victory, reeling at 117-5 at Old Trafford before England fought back. 

Jos Buttler (75) and Chris Woakes (84 not out) forged a 139-run stand to help the hosts go 1-0 up in the three-test series. 

"It will hurt the Pakistan team and the cricket lovers in Pakistan," former captain Akram told Sky Sports. 

"Winning and losing is part of cricket, but I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned." 

Akram was surprised how Pakistan, who had bowled out England for 219 in the first innings, did not try to bounce out Woakes early. 

"When Woakes came in, there were no bouncers, no short deliveries, they let him settle down and runs were coming easy," said the 54-year-old Akram. 

"Once the partnership got going, nothing happened - the turn didn't happen, swing didn't happen - and Buttler and Woakes just took the game away." 

Akram also felt Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi, who collectively sent down 28.1 overs in the second innings, were under-bowled. 

"Pakistan cricket is all about flair, unpredictability and attacking cricket. We're not county bowlers who are just going to come and bowl line and length all day long. 

"We've got a 17-year-old (Naseem), who bowls 90mph, a 20-year-old (Shaheen Afridi), who is around 88mph, and they should be bowling a lot more overs - 18-20 overs each innings, no matter the situation." 

England looked all but beaten when they lost those five wickets but captain Joe Root felt confident about his team's battling qualities. 

"We knew it would take something special but after last summer it is very hard to stop believing. It's a real strong trait of ours," he said. 

"It was a brilliant chase. I couldn't be more proud of the lads"

Almost a year on from Ben Stokes' heroic batting display to stun Australia in the 2019 Ashes at Headingley, Buttler and Woakes combined to deliver a counter-attacking display in a 139-run sixth-wicket stand. 

Buttler was trapped leg-before with 21 runs still required and the second new ball due, but Woakes stuck it out, edging the winning boundary down to third man to seal a famous victory. 

"It was a brilliant chase. I couldn't be more proud of the lads," Root said. 

"Jos, it shows the mental strength, to play that situation and manage different passages of it, calculating risks, manipulating the spinner, brilliant innings, and Chris was magnificent too. 

"The more important thing is we back it up again, and keep learning, but the clarity with which they played shows the maturity of the group too."