4 August 2020, by: Carl Lewis
England v Pakistan First Test Preview
After the meaningful and much needed three-match Test series between England and the West Indies, cricket fans can look forward to anther appetising series as Pakistan travel to Manchester to face England in the first Test of another three-match series.
After West Indies and Ireland played a single series of the Test and ODI formats respectively, England and Pakistan will be the first series featuring two formats, Tests and T20Is in the post Covid-19 world.
The subcontinent side has reached England a month before the series begins and they have undergone the necessary quarantine and safety measures before beginning with their training and practice matches.
England haven’t beaten Pakistan in a Test series since 2010. In that period they’ve played four times – twice at home (16 & 18): both drawn; twice in the UAE (12 & 15): both lost. England have won at least one series against all other teams they’ve played in this period. #ENGvPAK
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) July 31, 2020
After a successful three-Test series against the Windies, England’s Test squad face another interesting three-match series with another 120 World Test Championship (WTC) points on offer. If England win at least two Tests, they can pass Australia to second on the WTC table.
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) August 4, 2020
England remain unbeaten in Test series at home since 2014, their come-from-behind win over the Windies was their eighth triumphant series from a total of 12. The hosts have kept the same 14-man squad that beat the West Indies.
Pakistan might select a very green opening pair in Shan Masood and Abid Ali but Imam ul haq is an option. The pace trio of Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah could be a thrilling prospect in English conditions.
Pakistan have lost six consecutive matches in an opposition country since their memorable and cathartic victory at Lord’s in 2018. They have also lost badly, not only were three Tests by an innings margin and another by nine wickets, but Pakistan were dismissed for under 200 in their first innings twice and took 20 wickets in just one of those six contests.
In their favour is that they had time to settle in England having arrived a month ago because of COVID-19. IN their warm-up matches, veteran Azhar Ali scored a match-winning fourth innings century and Sohail Khan took first innings five-wicket hauls in both.
Pitch and Conditions
Old Trafford gave some help to the bowlers in both Tests in the Windies series. However, runs were on offer for those who showed patience and determination. It will be interesting to see what decision the winning captain makes at the toss after West Indies bowled first twice and went on to lose both.
The weather forecast is decent for the match, except for a possible morning shower on the first day.
England named an unchanged 14-man squad. However, off-spinner Dom Bess did not bowl a single over in England’s last Test. This might mean England consider picking an extra batsman against a potentially dangerous Pakistan attack.
England possible XI: 1. Rory Burns, 2. Dominic Sibley, 3. Zak Crawley, 4. Joe Root (c), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Ollie Pope, 7. Jos Buttler (wk), 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Jofra Archer, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson
It will be interesting to see the makeup of Pakistan’s bowling attack with so many good options. Do they play both their interesting young quicks in the first Test? Batsman Fawad Alam is back in contention, he has a great First-Class record (12,265 runs, avg. 56.78).
Pakistan possible XI: 1. Shan Masood, 2. Abid Ali, 3. Azhar Ali (c), 4. Babar Azam, 5. Asad Shafiq, 6. Haris Sohail/Fawad Alam, 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8. Yasir Shah, 9. Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10. Naseem Shah, 11. Mohammad Abbas
One formidable fast bowlers club! ? pic.twitter.com/sUkYMoXBRr
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 2, 2020
They’ve already played three Tests and they are at home.
Who else but him for a big occasion or a match-turning moment?
With a lean run of no centuries and five fifties from 16 Test innings at since his last home century, England captain Joe Root has not been their top scorer in any of their last 25 Test innings in the UK.
Asad Shafiq has been Pakistan’s top scorer in three of their last eight Test innings in an opposition’s country. Great value.