England vs Pakistan, first Test: Preview, Dream11 and more
After staging an emphatic turnaround against West Indies, England's Test contingent is all set to take on Pakistan in the first of three-Test series, commencing August 5. This will be the first international assignment for Pakistan since the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption. While the Joe Root-led side would aim to continue the winning streak, fitness will be a concern for Pakistan. Here's the preview.
Venue, timing, TV listing, pitch report and conditions
The Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester will host the first Test from August 5. The day's play will start at 3:30 PM IST. As seen in the previous Test series, the wicket here is favorable for batsmen and bowlers. However, the spinners get more assistance as the Test proceeds to the final two days. One can watch the match live on Sony Network.
England named an unchanged squad for the first Test
Last week, England named an unchanged squad for their first Test against Pakistan. All six fast bowlers, who played a key role in the 2-1 series victory over West Indies, have retained their place with Dom Bess being the only spinner. Notably, they also named four reserve players. The hosts are likely to play the same squad that faced WI in the final Test.
PCB had shortlisted 20 players for the Test series
The Pakistan Cricket Board also shortlisted 20 players for the upcoming three-match series. In the intra-squad warm-up fixtures, wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan looked in sublime touch. He will likely get the nod ahead of former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. Meanwhile, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah could spearhead the pace attack. Fast bowler Sohail Khan, who took a five-for in the squad game, may also play.
Azhar, Root eye new records
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali is all set to become only the fifth player from the nation with 6,000 Test runs. He presently has 5,919 runs to his name from 78 Tests at 42.58. Besides, England captain Joe Root (916) could complete 1,000 runs in Tests against Pakistan. Only two other players from England (Alastair Cook and David Gower) have managed to do so.
Dream11: Stokes, Babar get leadership roles
Wicket-keeper: Mohammad Rizwan. Batsmen: Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (VC), Joe Root, Dominic Sibley. All-rounders: Ben Stokes (C), Shadab Khan. Bowlers: Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Naseem Shah, Yasir Shah.