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After a forgetful Test winter for England and amidst the IPL T20 frenzy, the first Test of English summer is nearly upon us. England toured to Australia and New Zealand to play a total of seven matches during their winters, five against Australia and two against the Kiwis and they won a total of zero matches. While England comfortably sits at the top of the table in the One Day International rankings, they are languishing at the fifth spot in the red-ball Cricket. England starts their Test summer with a two-Test series against Pakistan with the first match to be played on 24th May at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. Both the teams are going through the transition period with many players within the early phase of their respective careers. This preview sheds some light into the ins and outs of both the sides and how the teams might fare in the upcoming Test series.
England's new selector, Ed Smith, has taken everyone with surprise by recalling Jos Buttler to the Test squad. Buttler hasn't been in touch with red-ball Cricket since last September, but he's been in a terrific limited-overs form which was validated by his recent show in Indian Premier League. Buttler's selection imparts the aggression and counter-attacking element to the team which appeared to be lacking in their Australia and New Zealand tours.
Going through a poor run of form, Alastair Cook and Michael Stoneman have yet another opportunity to retain their place in the English team. James Vince, on the other hand, has been discarded following a lowly string of scores. With Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, and Jos Buttler, the English batting looks pretty decent. Joe Root has three big scores here at Lord's which should boost his as well as the team's confidence to a certain extent.
Although the T20 form is of little significance, Ben Stokes didn't look even a shadow of himself during the first half of the IPL as far as his bowling is concerned. However, he found his bowling rhythm and confidence during the latter half of the tournament. He joins James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Chris Woakes to form the pace bowling armory of the English team.
With Mason Crane and Jack Leach injured and Moeen Ali struggling to find form, Dom Bess has been called in as a spinner who could be making his debut on 24th.
Overall, this English team looks much stronger at home, especially with a strengthened middle-order. Their spin department could be a cause of worry, but it should not matter much as the Lord's track generally assists quick bowlers.
Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, JE Root, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, BA Stokes, Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad, M Wood, Dominic Bess, James Anderson.
It hasn't been too long since Pakistan last visited England - just a couple of years. However, not many players who were part of the side back then are still on in the side. Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan have retired while Yasir Shah is set to stay away from Cricket due to the injury he sustained around a couple of months ago.
The English team struggled against left-arm seamers back in Australia in New Zealand and therefore Mohammad Amir will be a huge threat for Englishmen to deal with. In the recently concluded Test against Ireland, Imam ul Haq showed great grit and determination after being in a spot of bother. Babar Azam played a useful second-fiddle knock in the process.
Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali both batted well in the tour game against Leicestershire. With Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, and Babar Azam at the top, their batting appears to be settled. The lack of experience of playing at English soil in such conditions might well haunt them.
Pakistan has always had a rich history of producing excellent bowlers - both fast, as well as slow bowlers and it, isn't too different this time around as well. The likes of Amir, Abbas and Shadab Khan were impressive against Ireland and in the tour game they placed. This Pakistani side might struggle a bit while playing in virtually alien conditions, but this site is definitely not short on talent and any team playing against them should be wary of that.
Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.
There will be assistance for the bowlers early on in the match. Captains are expected to bowl first after winning the toss.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Cool weather, chances of Rain, and overcast conditions - such is the expected weather on this day at in London. The pitch is expected to have the slight coverage of grass and quick bowlers will have some assistance for them right throughout the match. Batting here will get easier as the match progresses further and Day 2 and Day 3 will be the best days to bat. Win the toss and chasing first will be the way to go at Lord's
English performance in the white-ball Cricket has rather been pretty interesting. While they struggled against the Aussies and the Kiwis, the three-lions were impressive in beating the Proteas and the Caribbean team. While the Pakistani side is high on talent, not many have the experience to play International Test in English conditions. This is certainly not the most strong English team in past, but they certainly have enough in them to challenge any team in world Cricket, and we think that the English prowess will indeed prove to be too much to handle for this relatively inexperienced Pakistan side.