England vs Pakistan, 2nd Test, Preview – Visitors look for redemption after Manchester slip-up
Ben Stokes not playing can turn out to be advantageous for Pakistan.
Pakistan had every chance of taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. But in the end, it was England who managed the lead with a three-wicket victory in the opening Test at the Old Trafford in Manchester. Once Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler joined hands in the second innings, Pakistan’s happy times ended. The visiting team had no answer to the counterattack from the Three Lions’ duo.
However, all’s not lost for Azhar Ali and Co by any means. The second Test gets underway on Thursday, August 13 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. Pakistan can take heart from the fact that the last time England played at the venue, the hosts lost against West Indies. Also, that Ben Stokes won’t be available for the match and the series can be advantageous from the visitors’ viewpoint.
The home team, on the other hand, won’t want any goof-ups and would be wishing to seal the fate of the series in the second Test itself. Nevertheless, the task might not be all that easy as Pakistan don’t lack in firepower by any stretch of the imagination. Joe Root’s men would he happy and more importantly relieved, after they managed to bail themselves out of from being in a precarious state.
The Brits’ will have to make one forced change after Stokes’ left for New Zealand to attend his family. In his place, Zak Crawley is likely to come in. Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley didn’t have the greatest of outings last time around and they will be looking to make some sort of amends.
The onus will also be on the experienced head of skipper Root. It remains to be seen of Buttler can carry forward his form from the previous encounter. The hosts might bench James Anderson and try out Sam Curran. A lot will also depend on pacer Stuart Broad, who has had a great time of late.
Predicted XI– Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson/Sam Curran
Abid Ali was excellent in the home Test earlier. But he couldn’t perform in the opening Test. Pakistan have the option of trying out Fawad Alam, who has been waiting in the wings forever. Shan Masood looked in great touch, but skipper Azhar’s batting form remains to be a massive matter of concern.
It goes without saying that Babar Azam’s role will be critical in order for the visitors to stage a comeback. It’s unlikely that the bowling lineup would be tampered with. Abbas, Afridi and Naseem are expected to fire on all cylinders. Pakistan will also depend on the experience of Yasir Shah.
Predicted XI- Shan Masood, Abid Ali/Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
Head to Head
Played- 84, England won- 26, Pakistan won- 21, No-Result- 37
Played- 53, England won- 23, Pakistan won- 12, No-Result- 18
64– Runs Babar Azam needs to complete 4,000 first-class runs.
127– Runs Joe Root needs to complete 12,000 first-class runs.
Match timings – 11:00 local time, 15:30 PM IST
TV – Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony Ten Sports 1, and Sony Ten Sports 1 HD
Live Streaming– The match can be streamed online at Sony LIV.