Date: August 5, 2020
Timing: 11 am local time, 3 pm PKT
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Weather: There are showers expected on Day 1 of the match in the early morning as well as evening. However, it is mostly cloudy from Day 2 to Day 5.
Conditions / Pitch Report: According to the reports, England practice indoors due to rain. Showers are expected on the first day and possibly on day two as well.
In the West Indies series, there was both plenty of swing and spin was found at Old Trafford so it’s likely to expect the same for Pakistan series as well.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Matches: 83 | England: 25 | Pakistan: 21 | Drawn: 37
England: W W L W W (completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan: W W D L L
England are coming off a fresh series win against the West Indies 2-1. They will be in high confidence, despite their top-order wobbles.
After two comprehensive victories over the West Indies; England has gained 80 points and climbed at no.3 position in the points table of the ongoing World Test Championship and currently has 226 points. Another 80 points will help England overtake Australia for the second position with 306 points.
England hasn’t won a Test series against Pakistan since 2011. They have lost 3-0 & 2-0 in UAE in 2012 and 2015 respectively while they managed to draw the series 2-2 in 2016 and 1-1 in 2018. They will be looking for their first series win against them after a decade.
ENGLAND PROBABLE XI:
On July 29, England announced an unchanged 14 men squad. They included four fast bowlers: James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, and Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes who had a quad injury inclusion is uncertain. If Stokes fails to recover from injury, then Zack Crawly will make a comeback in the side. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that England will make any changes.
1. Rory Burns, 2. Dom Sibley, 3. Joe Root (c), 4. Ben Stokes/Zak Crawly, 5. Ollie Pope, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. Chris Woakes, 8. Dominic Bess, 9. Jofra Archer, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson
Pakistan will be playing their first series since February. They played three intra-squad practice matches.
Pakistan is sitting in fifth place with 140 points in the points table. A whitewash will give Pakistan 120 points and will end with 260 points while 2-0 or 2-1 will gain 80 points and ends the series with 220 points in WTC.
Pakistan hasn’t won a series against England since 1996. However, since 1987, they have the third-best win-loss ratio after Australia and South Africa. They would be looking to go one step further to win the Test series.
PAKISTAN PROBABLE XI:
On Monday, chief selector-cum-head coach Misbah ul-Haq considered playing two spinners on Manchester pitch alongside three seamers. Though they may change the combination by looking at the pitch and conditions one more time.
1. Abid Ali, 2. Shan Masood, 3. Azhar Ali (c), 4. Babar Azam, 5. Asad Shafiq, 6. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7. Shadab Khan 8. Yasir Shah, 9. Mohammad Abbas, 10. Naseem Shah, 11. Shaheen Afridi
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Ben Stokes: Since 2019, Ben Stokes had a phenomenal career in Test, scoring 1453 runs at an average of 53.81 and taken 39 wickets at an average of 28.84. In the recent West Indies series, he was the leading run-scorer with 363 runs.
- Babar Azam: Babar played only one Test in England in 2018, where he scored 67 before being hit by Ben Stokes’ bouncer which hurt his hand. Since then, Babar’s Test career rose rapidly as he scored 1375 runs at an average of 65.47. In the last five Test matches, he scored 615 runs at an average of 102.50 with four centuries and is expected to show his class throughout the series.
- Joe Root: He has always performed brilliantly against Pakistan. From the active players, he currently has an average of 61.06 with a century and six half-centuries. And with English batsmen struggling against left-arm fast, Root; however, averages 47.50 and he will be the key wicket for the tourists.
- Shaheen Afridi: England batsmen have struggled against left-arm fast bowlers, Mohammad Amir in 2018 and Mitchell Starc in 2019. In England’s recent winter series against New Zealand and South Africa, England lost 20 wickets to the left-arm fast. And Shaheen Afridi, being the only left-arm fast bowler in Pakistan’s squad, will be a challenge to English Batsmen.
STATS AND TRIVIA:
- It has been 14 years since Pakistan last won Test series against England in their background. In 1996, Wasim Akram led side won 2-0 in the three-match series.
- Captain Azhar Ali is 81 runs away from his 6000 Test runs. Should he achieve the feat, he will become the fifth Pakistan player to do so. His deputy Babar Azam is 150 runs away for his 2000 Test runs.
- Two matches will take place here in Manchester, where Pakistan has won only one game in six matches they have played. The last time they played in Manchester in 2016, Pakistan suffered 330 runs defeat.
- James Anderson needs 11 wickets to become the first fast bowler to 600 Test dismissals.
“He’s very skillful, looks like he has a lot of paces. You can speak to as many people as you want, but until you get out there and face him, you can’t really know what it’s going to be like”
Joe Root on 17-year old Naseem Shah, who they will be facing for the first time