What. A. Ball.
England is getting into this series with high morale as they beat the West Indies in the last series.
They won the Wisden Trophy 2-1, which will be a confidence booster.
On the other hand, Pakistan will have their first assignment since March where they played against Bangladesh at home. They are practising hard but we’ll wait to see how they’ll perform in the first match.
England is unplayable in home conditions but there are some serious flaws in the batting order. They have an inexperienced top order and Jos Buttler’s form is also not good to rely on. The openers had improved in the last series but this is still not enough to win the series against Pakistan.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes will have to step up to motivate the lads and extract the match-winning performances from them.
Their bowling line is almost perfect with the presence of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Stokes and Chris Woakes. They will not have any serious issues with their bowling, yet they’ll have to pick the right combinations on the match day.
Pakistan has cut down their squad to 20 for the Test series and have some exciting players. They have a durable batting line-up with the likes of Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq and Shan Masood. But they will face a terrific bowling attack, so we’ll see an exciting contest between bat and ball.
Their bowling is a weak link because they have a young pace attack. Except for Abbas, there is no other bowler who played more than ten matches which is a thing to worry. Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah is a perfect trio but they are still young and two of them haven’t played a Test match in England.
They have perfect conditions as Abbas needs swing, Afridi uses bounce and Shah wishes for pace from the wickets and these all are available in English wickets. Pakistan needs them to step up if they are to win the series.
Weather and pitch
As far as the weather is concerned there is a prediction of rain for day one of the first Test match, which may wash out a whole day or some sessions. And then from the day forward, we may witness a full day match.
Because of the chances of rain, there’ll be a lot of moisture in the wicket to assist the fast bowlers, especially in first innings. There might be some help for the spinners in the second innings because there are two matches already played on this wicket so it will be dried out.
So the team winning the toss will like to bowl first and may go with a full pace attack.
England named an unchanged squad but there may be a change in playing XI. If Stokes is fully fit and available for bowling, then they can play another batsman in place of a bowler.
Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley (subjected to stokes fitness), Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Olie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes/Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Pakistan had played their probable XI in the last warmup game and they might go with the same XI. They could go with four seamers but English batsmen struggled against the spinners so this could be thinking but at the end, it’s the captain’s decision to be made and we’ll see that on the match day.
Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab/Faheem, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah, Naseem Shah, Muhammad Abbas
It’s very tough to predict the series at this time but one thing is sure in that if Pakistan are not able to grab the win first then it will be very difficult to come back. But I am taking this hard step to predict the series and I’m seeing 1-1 at the end.