By George Marrable
- England and Pakistan currently tied at 1-1 in 4 test match series
- Hosts will be looking to continue form from the second test
- Pakistan will be hoping to improve on a poor all round performance at Old Trafford
EDGBASTON, ENGLAND – Tour hosts England will be high on confidence heading into the third Investec test match against Pakistan, after they defeated the tourists by 330 runs in the second test match at Old Trafford.
However, the comprehensive win for Trevor Bayliss’ side was marred by the injury to all-rounder Ben Stokes. The Durham and England star pulled up whilst bowling on the fourth day at Old Trafford, and will miss the third test in Birmingham with a calf injury. The absence of Stokes will cause a few headaches in the England camp as they look for a replacement for the versatile all-rounder.
Aside from the injury to Stokes, England will be looking for more of the same in Birmingham, with all players performing to comprehensively beat Pakistan inside four days in Manchester. Alistair Cook will be looking to lead from the front once again, making 105 and 76*, whilst talisman Joe Root continues to dominate the headlines. The Yorkshire batsman recorded his highest ever international score with 254, and was a constant thorn in Pakistan’s side all game.
Despite this, England’s man of the series so far, Chris Woakes, will be looking to continue his mesmerising form this weekend at his home ground. The all-rounder chipped in with seven wickets and a score of 58 in the first innings. Woakes will certainly be eyeing up Stokes’ vacant position in the side this weekend.
The one player that will be feeling the pressure in Birmingham is opener Alex Hales. Whilst constantly getting starts in his innings, Hales once again failed to capitalise against Pakistan. His inability to turn starts into big scores will be worrying the selectors, and Hales will be looking to prove his doubters wrong.
It’s a completely different story for Pakistan as they head to Edgbaston this weekend. Their bowling attack lacked the potency it did at Lords, picking up just nine wickets in two innings in Manchester. Despite his heroics in the first test Yasir Shah suffered a torrid time in the England first innings, finishing with figures of 1-213.
Mohammad Amir was the one bright spark in their bowling department, as he once again silenced his critics by picking up three wickets in the test match. With Amir and Shah back on form in Birmingham, they will have all the tools to really trouble England once again.
Pakistan really struggled with the bat as well at Old Trafford, not helped by the excellent bowling from Jimmy Anderson and Woakes. Misbah-ul-Haq was the only player to pass 50 in either innings, with no batsman stepping up and making a game changing score. Opener Shan Masood also continued to struggle, with Anderson easily dismissing him in both innings.
The weaknesses in the Pakistani batting lineup were well and truly exposed in the second test, with their over reliance on Misbah a large portion of the problem. That, combined with a very weak batting tail, will continue to land Pakistan in trouble when they bat in this series. Those weaknesses are at risk of being exposed once again at Edgbaston.
Pakistan will be looking to bounce back, but England’s batting line-up will be too strong for them in the third test.
The third test takes place at Edgbaston between 3-7 August, starting at 11am BST.
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