Pakistan likely to go with 2 spinners, England to remain unchanged in first Test

KSW Web Desk

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Pakistan Test Team pose for group pic at Old Trafford. Pic/PCB

Srinagar, Aug 5: The stage is set for a highly anticipated Test series between hosts England and youngster studded energetic Pakistan side. It will be another cracker of Test cricket after we recently witnessed keenly contested series between England and West Indies.

The first Test of the three match Test series begins Today, August 5 at Manchester.

The start will serve as end of long wait for Pakistan side who have been in England for over a month now due to COVID 19 protocols.

England and Pakistan will enjoy the benefit of the bio-secure environment of Manchester and Southampton – which will host the second and third Tests.

Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has not ruled out the possibility of playing two spinners in the first Test against England which begins from Wednesday at Old Trafford.

“We have looked at the West Indies series and we have seen that at Manchester and Southampton conditions are different and we are seeing some dry conditions and help for spinners and reverse swing,” Misbah said during a media interaction on Monday.

It could stem from the fact that the last time Pakistan played a Test series in England, Yasir Shah tasted tremendous success, and even though he has lost a bit of touch over the last 12 months, the leg-spinner is capable of turning the clock back. In Shah and Shadab Khan, Pakistan can play their cards well. Based on that, here is what we expect the Pakistan Playing XI to be

Pakistan Playing XI: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (C), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas.

As far as England are concerned, they continue to wait on the fitness of star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been struggling with a quad injury for the last couple of weeks. It has led Joe Root to delay naming England’s Playing XI for the series opener.

England have experimented with their fast bowling combination of late, but it should be a no-brainer to go with an unchanged side that beat West Indies comprehensively to clinch the series. Expect England to go ahead with a four-pronged pace attack comprising James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes, with Dom Bess being the lone spinner. That obviously can change depending on Stokes’ fitness. Here’s the XI we feel England will field.

England Probable XI: Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (WK), Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

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