About the Match
England will host Pakistan in a 4-match Test series with the 1st Test scheduled to be held at Lord’s from 14th July. While the English have had a flourish of wins recently, Pakistan has a lack of overseas touring in recent times which could prove to be a disadvantage; both teams have talented players and they will definitely try to keep the upper hand right from the first innings. England recently triumphed against the visiting Sri Lankans and will be pumped up about their chances provided the injury issues do not prove to be a hurdle; Pakistan on the other hand will draw inspiration from their series win in Sharjah last year and will try to repeat that performance here on foreign soil.
Alastair Cook has proven to be a good leader for the team when it comes to the test format and he will be battle-ready with the bat against the Pakistani quickies; along with Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow, the English batting line-up looks heavily loaded with in-form players, who can take on the might of the Pakistan bowlers with ease. All-rounders Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes haven been instrumental in taking regular wickets as well as stabilizing the middle –order; they look good to play an anchoring role after the top-order has done its job.
The bowling squad consists of the very experienced Stuart Broad and Steven Finn; although Ben Stokes and Jimmy Anderson will miss out on the first test, there are others like Woakes, Ali and speedster Jake Ball who add depth to the attack. Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones is likely to make his test debut in the first match and he has been in good form this season in the county scene.
Cook and his mates will be cautious against bowlers like Mohammad Amir and Imran Khan, who have been very successful against the hosts in the past; the batting line-up surely has a challenge ahead but they do look well prepared this time around to take on the onslaught with courage.
Misbah is at the helm of things and he will try to motivate this young team to repeat their success at UAE last year against England, wherein they had handed a 2-0 drubbing to the visitors. He is a run-machine and along with the stalwart Younis Khan, can rescue the team from any crunch situation; along with a batting line-up that consists of players like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Iftikhar Ahmed and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan surely can prove to be a challenge.
Youngsters Shan Masood, Sami Aslam and Mohammad Rizwan will add depth to the batting while bowlers like Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah, Hafeez and Azhar Ali can outwit the English batsmen with their legbreak and googlies.
Amir makes a comeback to the test squad and will be raring to go here; along with Imran Khan, Rahat Ali and the phenomenal Wahad Riaz, the visitors will be eager to demolish the opponents here. They will try to play well as a unit to stop the winning momentum of the hosts.
England has the home advantage and will know exactly how to stifle the visitors here; Pakistan has the firepower with bat and ball, but we feel that the English are clearly the favourites to win the match