The first Test at Lord’s had everything that makes Test cricket great. High quality, perseverance and a result that saw Pakistan go 1-0 up in the series. England will need to recover at Old Trafford and they have reintroduced some familiar faces to make sure that happens.
Steven Finn’s summer struggles continued at his home ground and the English seamer failed to take any wickets whilst debutant Jake Ball bowled some decent spells but could only pick up one wicket when on another day he may have taken four.
Both those players have been dropped and replaced in the 12 man squad by leading wicket taker James Anderson, all rounder Ben Stokes and spinner Adil Rashid. The addition of the Yorkshire man opens the possibility of Moeen Ali being replaced or a second spinner being added on a ground that traditionally spins.
However it wasn’t just the bowlers who were an issue at Lord’s with James Vince, Gary Ballance and Joe Root all struggling with the bat, Root twice getting out to stupid shots. I suspect either Ballance or Vince will need to score big in order to keep their places although one of them could drop out for Rashid should Alastair Cook and Trevor Bayliss go for dual spinners.
Pakistan will more than likely field the same 11 who won so famously at Lord’s. Yasir Shah was the star of the show, but their left handed seamers all offered something unique. Mohammad Amir progressively grew in confidence, while Rahat Ali was brilliant with the new ball. Wahab Riaz was pacey and his reverse swing steamed through England’s tail in the first innings.
With big names coming back to the England side you can expect it to be close again. England need more runs to be able to compete at all in this series, so they will turn to one of Root or Cook to score a big bulk of runs in this Test. B
England have a lot to do from 1-0 down and they’ll have to bat better against Shah’s spin to make it 1-1.