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The two sides had contrasting experiences at Lord's where England had a bitter experience while an uplifting experience for Pakistan. Despite being written off due to their inexperience of playing at English soil, Pakistan outplayed and outwitted England in all departments of the game. Quite surprisingly, England will be under the pump when they come out on the field at Leeds for the second Test beginning of June 1st. While Pakistan will be brimming with confidence after a superb show in the first Test, England may well be a little wobbly as they come out come out to avoid an unanticipated series defeat on Friday.
While England would have hoped for a change in their fortunes with the change in the season and the chief selector, they suffered one of their most unanticipated defeats. England had a good side on paper with many experienced players in Joe Root, Alastair Cook, Ben Stokes, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. However, no one stood up and performed to a respectable level.
On an overcast morning with a tinge of green in the wicket, Joe Root elected to bat first when most other captains would have chosen to bowl. It could have been an excellent decision had their batsmen applied themselves, but their batsmen lacked discipline and the team was folded for a sub-200 score on a pitch which was getting better for batting. Barring Alastair Cook, no other batsman was able to score a half-century and only three other batsmen could touch a double-digit score. Cook top-scored for them with a 70 run knock.
England had a lot to catch-up in their second innings, but their batsmen failed to deliver yet again with only a few batsmen playing useful hands and that too sporadically. Joe Root scored 68, but could not find a partner. Jos Buttler and Dominic Bess played important hands towards the end of their innings, but that could only delay the inevitable.
The pitch was playing at it's best on the second and third days of the Test and the bowlers performed reasonably well against inexperienced, but talented Pakistani side. James Anderson and Ben Stokes were the picks of the bowlers as the pair took six wickets between them - three each. With only 66-runs to defend in the fourth innings, there wasn't much their bowlers could do.
We are sure to see a couple of new faces in the second Test as Keaton Jennings is almost certain to replace Mark Stoneman in the playing eleven. Tom Curran has been called in as a cover for injured Ben Stokes which is already a big blow to English aspirations.
Alastair Cook, KK Jennings, JE Root, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, CR Woakes, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Sam Curran, James Anderson.
Right from their game against Kent which was around a couple of months ago up until their game against England, one thing has been constant for Pakistan - improvement. Pakistan fared badly against 2nd tier Kent side and was written off by almost all Cricket pundits, but their unpredictability surprised one and all.
Batting hasn't been a skill which we usually associate with Pakistan. Their batsmen batted with discipline in testing conditions and posted a decent total on the board. As many as four batsmen crossed the 50-runs mark which was quite a feat on a seaming wicket. Babar Azam was retired out after a solid 68-runs knock and he is likely to miss the second Test. Their batting will once again rest upon the experienced shoulders of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq at the top of the order.
The foundation of their win was laid by their bowlers as they restricted English batsmen to a modest total on a pitch which got easier to bat as the match progressed. Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali grabbed four wickets each while Mohammad Amir and Faheem Ashraf picked up one. Abbas missed the five-wicket haul in the second innings as well as he picked up four wickets for 41. Mohammad Amir found his rhythm and picked 4 for 36 in 18.1 overs. Headingley's surface is known for its pace and bounce and we can expect another few days of excellent seam bowling from the Pakistani fast bowlers.
Given the way they performed in the first match, Pakistan would have liked to field an unchanged squad in the Leeds Test. However, with Babar Azam injured, Usman Salahuddin is set to make his debut at historic venue of Leeds.
Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.
Overcast conditions with chances of rain are perfect allies of seam bowlers. Expect the winning captain to win the toss and field first.
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The weather conditions are expected to be on the similar lines as of Lord's. Similar to that of the first test, expect overcast conditions with chances of Rain on Friday. Headingley is known for its bowler's friendly track wicket and we do not expect it to change this time around as well.
Unlike the first game, England will be wary of Pakistan's capabilities and the threat their bowlers pose, especially on tracks which have some assistance for quick bowlers. Both the teams are expected to make forced changes due to the injury sustained by their respective players in the first match. Complacency could have been one of the reasons for English loss which should get vanished as we move into the second Test. With home conditions, experienced players, and better on-paper team expect England to bounce back and square the two-match series with an important win at the historic ground of Headingley.
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