Pakistan vs England 2nd Test: Preview and Prediction

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England won the first Test by 74 runs in an enthralling last-day finish

Pakistan and England will face off in the second Test, starting on Friday at the Multan Cricket Stadium. The Green Shirts will be coming into this match low on confidence after suffering a heavy defeat in the first Test by 74 runs in the first Test played at Rawalpindi. 

On the other hand, England will be coming into this match full of confidence after producing a pitch-perfect performance in the opening Test against Pakistan. Skipper Ben Stokes will be hoping that the side can deliver the goods with bat and ball.

After a disappointing performance in the first Test of the series, a few changes might take place in the playing XI. Leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood had a rather poor outing on a pitch where there was not much for the spinners, and he is likely to be replaced by left-arm spinner Nauman Ali.

Mohammad Ali also had an average outing on a turning track and the team management might include experienced Hasan Ali in the playing XI. Haris Rauf suffered from a shoulder injury and will be replaced by Mir Hamza in the playing XI.

In the batting department, the home team will be relying on the likes of captain Babar Azam, openers Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, experienced Azhar Ali and in-form batsman Saud Shakeel to score the bulk of the runs. On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza and left-spinner Naumann Ali to produce timely breakthroughs.

On the other hand, England is expected to make changes to their playing XI after assessing the pitch conditions at Multan. In the batting department, England will be relying heavily on in-form Joe Root, openers Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, captain Ben Stokes, rookie Harry Brook and wicket-keeper Ollie Pope to deliver the bulk of the runs.

In his only second Test match, Harry Brook was a standout performer with the bat for England. In the first innings, Brook smashed his maiden century for the visitors. In the second innings, Harry Brook scored a brisk 87 off 65 balls with the help of eleven boundaries and three sixes. 

On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of right-arm fast-bowlers Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, James Anderson, and the spin duo of Jack Leach and Will Jacks to produce timely breakthroughs.

What have they done so far?

Pakistan batters had a good outing in the 1st Test despite the loss, as the collapse in the last session on Day 5 was what cost them the match. Opener Imam-Ul-Haq was the top scorer for Pakistan while captain Babar Azam scored 140 runs. Abdullah Shafique also scored 114 runs in Pakistan’s 1st innings as Pakistan scored 579 runs in reply to England’s 657 runs. 

However, the batters failed to step up in the 2nd innings where Pakistan required 342 runs to win in the last 4 sessions of the Test. Saud Shakeel held the crease for a while with 76 runs while Mohammad Rizwan (46), Imam-ul-Haq (48) and Azhar Ali (40) tried to avoid a defeat but in the end, England bowlers triumphed. 

Playing his first Test for Pakistan, Zahid Mahmood was the top wicket-taker for Pakistan with 6 scalps to his name, where he dismissed Joe Root twice as well as centurion Ben Duckett’s wicket in the 1st innings and captain Ben Stokes’ wicket in the 2nd innings. However, the spinner conceded 319 runs for his 6 scalps. 

Naseem Shah also grabbed 5 wickets in the match where he got rid of Harry Brook in both innings, as well as Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone in the 1st innings and Ben Duckett in the 2nd. 

Haris Rauf, who was also on his Test debut managed just 1 wicket (Zak Crawley) in the 13 overs he bowled in the 1st innings and couldn’t bowl in the 2nd innings due to a quad strain. Pakistan bowled only 4 bowlers in the 2nd innings, where England declared at 264/7. 

For England, Harry Brook was the top batter in both innings. While he smashed 153 runs at a strike rate of 131.90 in the first innings, the 23-year-old smashed 87 runs off just 65 balls in the 2nd innings to power England to a 300+ run lead with enough time remaining to obtain a result. 

In the first innings, the top three batters smashed centuries – Zak Crawley (122), Ben Duckett (107) and Ollie Pope (108) as England accumulated 575 runs on just the 1st day of play. While Root (23) was dismissed for a low score in the 1st innings, the former captain was the second-highest scorer for England in the second innings with 73 runs off 69 balls. Batting seemed all too easy for Root in the second innings when he started playing left-handed. 

In the bowling department, spinner Will Jacks grabbed 6 wickets for 153 runs in the first innings to restrict Pakistan to 579 where England attained a 78-run lead in the 1st innings. In the second innings, pacers came into action as Ollie Robinson and ace pacer James Anderson grabbed 4 wickets each to achieve a historic win for England in Pakistan.

Head to Head Record

England has dominated Pakistan when it comes to head to heads between the two sides in men’s Test cricket. Whilst the Three Lions have won 27 of the 87 encounters between the two sides, Pakistan has won 21. 39 of these fixtures have also ended in a draw.

However, the victory in the first Test was only the third win of England in Test matches played in Pakistan where the Shaheens have won four games. Meanwhile, 18 of the fixtures in Pakistan have ended in draws.

Key Players

Imam-Ul-Haq top scored for Pakistan in the first Test match of this series

Imam-Ul-Haq top scored for Pakistan in the first Test match of this series

Imam-ul-Haq (Pakistan): Imam-ul-Haq is a key player for Pakistan who performed exceptionally well against Australia earlier this year and also did well against England in the first Test. 

In 17 tests he has played so far, Haq has averaged 38 runs per innings with four half-centuries and three centuries scoring 1142 runs so far in test cricket, with 157 being his highest score. His consistency at the top of the order gives Pakistan a solid base from which to build their innings.

Joe Root (England): Joe Root has been in great form over the past few years, scoring an impressive 10,600 runs in 125 matches at an average of 50. He has 28 hundred and 55 fifties under his belt, with the highest score of 254. 

Root has looked more free-flowing with the bat since being relieved of captaincy duties, and he loves playing on Asian pitches. If the Pakistani bowlers couldn’t control him, he can take the game away from the hosts single-handedly.

Predicted Playing XI

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (C), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Faheem Ashraf, Naseem Shah, Mir Hamza, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (WK), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (C), Jamie Overton, Will Jacks, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson

Prediction

The visitors got their selections on spot for the opening game of the three-match Test series. On the other hand, Pakistan will feel that they made selection blunders for the series opener. Bringing in Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali and Mir Hamza will certainly bolster Pakistan’s pace resources for the Multan Test. 

The home side will be keen to bring their A-game to the table in this second Test. Therefore, the prediction is for Babar-led Pakistan to bounce back and level the series at Multan.

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