The highly anticipated Test series between England and Pakistan started in a thrilling fashion. After conceding a lead of more than 100 runs, England bounced back strongly to steal an unlikely victory from Pakistan.
Both the teams are set to meet for the 2nd Test in Southampton. Pakistan haven’t lost a Test series against England since 2010. They would therefore look to win this Test and keep the series alive. Meanwhile, England would like to complete their first series victory against Pakistan in ten years by winning this Test.
We look at the squads of both the teams, the changes they would like to adopt, the likely mindsets of both the teams and the impact the result would have on the Test Championship Points Table.
England will have to make do without two players who have needed to drop out for family reasons. Stokes will not play in the remaining two tests as he is travelling to New Zealand to see his parents. This has led to Ollie Robinson, who plays county cricket for Sussex and is yet to make his national debut, being added to England’s Squad. Dan Lawrence, who currently plays for Essex, had a chance to make his national debut, much like Robinson, but unfortunately had to leave England’s bio-secure bubble due to a family bereavement.
Butler, who was struggling in Tests, is likely to go into this game with heaps of confidence batting wise after his spectacular 75 in the last innings although admittedly he may need to improve his keeping, having fluffed two opportunities to get Masood, Pakistan’s star batsman, out.
Woakes, the Man of the match from the previous Test, scored an astonishing 84* and bagged four wickets throughout the game and will be looking to cement his position as an all-rounder in the longest form of the game.
Yasir Shah and Shan Masood were the star players for Pakistan with Yasir getting four wickets in both innings along with a 33 run cameo in their 2nd innings whilst Masood put up 156 runs (albeit with a duck in the second innings). Pakistan will be hoping for a repeat from these two if they are going to have any chance of winning the second test and level the series.
Despite Azam’s paltry 5 in the 2nd Innings he looked in good nick in the 1st innings and will be hoping to avoid repeating his 2nd innings failure.
Naseem Shah, only got a wicket in each innings and needs to be more “consistent” but that will surely come with experience as he is only 17.
Asad Shaifq and Abid Ali’s sub-par contributions with the bat might see left-handers Imam-ul Haq and Fawad Alam get an opportunity to shine.
Azhar Ali, also has a point to prove after a poor game as both captain and batsman.
The likely mindset of the two teams:
Despite the loss of Stokes, England will be going into this test with a world of confidence having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the opening game, that too without much contribution from their star all-rounder, although admittedly he did take two wickets at a crucial time in the 3rd innings of the game.
Pakistan, however, will be looking to bounce back after failing to press their advantage forward when they had England reeling at 117-5 before a miraculous Butler-Woakes partnership positioned England perfectly to win the match. Despite the wicket of Butler, they couldn’t contain England before the new ball and by then it was too late.
One could argue that Pakistan failed to score enough runs in their second innings despite going into it with a 107-run lead as England won the game with over a day to spare. Arguably if Pakistan had batted for one more session we would have seen a different result.
Change of venue and forecasted weather conditions:
With the players heading south to play the last two Tests at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Southampton, the conditions are bound to be somewhat different to Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, the forecast in Southampton is not promising with rain being forecasted for all five days of the test. It is almost inevitable that overs will be lost, like at Old Trafford, and perhaps even full days much like what happened during the third day of the second test and the fourth day of the third test earlier this summer during the England vs West Indies tests.
As a consequence of rain, the team winning the toss might well choose to field first against conventional wisdom. Moreover, both teams are bound to select as many seam bowlers as they can as a consequence of the forecasted rain.
This might give James Anderson a chance to silence his critics after picking up a solitary wicket in the first game along with Jofra Archer who has so far this summer only been good in “patches” including his two in two in the last game.
Alternatively, Robinson might get a chance to make his Test debut as he is a medium fast bowler. Moreover, Mark Wood and Sam Curran are both seamers as well. Including Stuart Broad, Joe Root has plenty to choose from.
The same can be said for Pakistan who have eight seamers in their squad. Experienced Wahab Riaz, along with Usman Khan Shinwari might get a chance in the spot-light due to their fast left arm bowling nature (although Riaz tested COVID positive in late June, later he tested negative, and hasn’t played any tests for two years) after both weren’t selected in the first test. Moreover, Shinwari has only played one test in his entire career, last December against Sri-Lanka
Impact of Results on the points table:
Currently England sit 3rd in the World Test Championship with 266 points, only 30 behind Australia whilst Pakistan are in 5th place with 140 points. Another win will give England 40 points which will see them overtaking Australia. However, it is important to note that Australia have only played 3 series so far whilst this is England’s fourth series in the World Test Championship. A 3-0 whitewash will see England at 346 points chipping at the heels of India who currently lie at the top of the table with a grand total of 360 points.
However, if Pakistan win this game they will have 180 points which will see them level with New Zealand who much like Australia have only played three series so far.