About the Match
Pakistan and England get geared up for a 2-month Test and ODI series, which will begin with the first test match on 13th Oct at Abu Dhabi. While Pakistan has recently conquered Zimbabwe on its away tour, England had a very successful summer
against rivals Australia, defeating the visitors comprehensively in all formats of the game on home soil. England has a fairly new team without much exposure to the conditions in the Middle East while Pakistan continues to flourish here. The upcoming contest will surely be filled with some exciting moments as both sides will try to come out all guns blazing to dominate the other.
Yasir Shah has been a vital asset for the team; his leg breaks are difficult to read and can definitely outwit the English batsmen. Providing support with spin will be Fawad Alam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik and Zulfiqar Babar, who can demolish the opponent with ease.
Wahab Riaz is looking good in form and along with others like Junaid Khan, Shan Masood, Rahat Ali and Imran Khan, Pakistan has a solid line-up of speedsters who can do well in these conditions. The batting line-up consists of experienced players like Younis Khan, captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali, who have been consistent in recent times and won matches for the team.
The Pakistanis will be playing at home and will go into the field fearlessly; their bowling attack is in tremendous shape while the middle order batsmen have handled pressure well in recent matches. If the top order can build a solid foundation, then this team will be a tough nut to crack here.
Alistair Cook leads the side with his experience from the previous tour of the Middle East in 2012
; he is in good nick with the bat as seen in the warm-up games and will definitely provide stability to the top order. Ian Bell is the other players who featured in the last tour and will need to support well with the bat. Other batsmen like Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Joe Root and James Taylor will make up the middle order but they will need to be cautious against the Pakistani slow bowling.
On the bowling front, Steven Finn, who picked up 4 wickets in the recent tour match, looks well-set to demolish the Pakistani batting line-up; he along with Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Stokes and James Anderson will need to bring in the wickets at regular intervals to keep a check on the hosts. Liam Plunkett, Samit Patel and other all-rounders bring variety to the attack and look good to give a competitive edge.
Overall, this is a good unit that will be motivated under all circumstances and with a positive mind set can surely challenge Pakistan in their own backyard.
Although England has done well in recent times in all departments of the game, playing in unknown conditions and harsh weather will surely test their skills and patience; Pakistan has the home advantage and the players are in good from. However, the men from England showed their character and skills in the home test series against Australia. I think England will win continue the way they've performed to win the opening test.