|Hello and welcome to Sportstar‘s live coverage of the first England vs Pakistan Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.|
Stay tuned! The live coverage will begin at 3:30 pm IST.
— England missed an opportunity in 2016 to win a series against Pakistan, according to Chris Woakes. The seamer says Pakistan has “always fought the good fight.” How good? The last time Pakistan lost a series against England was in 2010, in the series overshadowed by the spot-fixing scandal.
— There will be much responsibility on the shoulders of the promising Babar Azam to score the runs at the top of the order. Yesterday, captain Azhar Ali claimed he was “up there” in the elite league of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. “His performance has improved massively in Tests over the last year or so,” he said.
The stats tell us that Babar scored 759 runs in seven Tests since 2019, with four centuries. Against England, he’s played only one innings, at Lord’s in May, 2018, scoring an unbeaten 68.
— This will be Pakistan’s seventh Test at Old Trafford. It’s won only one match here, in May-June , 2001; Inzamam-ul-Haq shone with the bat to help Pakistan edge England for a 108-run win. Pakistan played its first-ever Test against England here, too, in July, 1954, under the captaincy of Abdul Hafeez Kardar. The result? A draw, despite being heavily behind in that contest.
— The one well-known name from the Test tours of 2016 and 2018 absent this time is Mohammad Amir, who chose to retire from Test cricket last year. Wahab Riaz, who also chose to bid adieu to Test cricket, indicated his willingness to come out of retirement and the 35-year-old fast bowler has been included in the 20-man squad. Sarfraz Ahmed, who had fallen behind in the pecking order for the last year or so, has been included as well. Sarfraz has been chosen as the back-up keeper to Mohammad Rizwan.
— Test cricket stays at Old Trafford, Manchester, for England’s three-Test series against Pakistan, this time. Joe Root scored a double-century the last time the two sides played here, in July, 2016, in a comprehensive England win. Overall, it was a tightly fought Test series, drawn 2-2 under Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. Pakistan played just two Tests in its 2018 tour, losing both.
Pakistan’s 16-man squad: Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam (vc), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Imam-ul-Haq, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah
England’s 14-man squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Key WTC points up for grabs as England, Pakistan prepare for upcoming Test series
Both England and Pakistan will be looking to pocket key World Test Championship (WTC) points in the first Test commencing today at Old Trafford in Manchester.
England and Pakistan currently hold the third and fifth spot on the WTC points table with 226 and 140 points respectively. The table is topped by India with 360 points.
England moved up to third position after the series against the West Indies and could potentially leapfrog Australia to second place if it manages to overpower Pakistan.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has a chance of overtaking New Zealand to claim the fourth place.
The host, England, won the three-match Test series against West Indies by 2-1. Apart from that, earlier, England had drawn a five-match series against Australia 2-2 and won a four-match series against South Africa 3-1.
Pakistan lost both matches of a two-Test series to Australia, beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in a two-match series and won its first match against Bangladesh at home, with another Test due on a subsequent leg postponed due to COVID-19.
|WHAT THEY SAID
Azhar Ali:English conditions are quite tough for batting. With the Dukes ball and the weather… it swings around. But we have had that experience in the past. (READ MORE)
Joe Root: Having played some high-intensity Test cricket will serve us well going into the series and will give us a bit of head start and that should play in our favour slightly. But it is important we don’t take it for granted and we are very aware Pakistan is a talented team. (READ MORE)
Each series of the WTC is worth 120 points, distributed evenly over the number of matches in a series. The points range from 60 for each match of a two-Test series to 24 for each match of a five-Test series.
In addition, players from each side will be aiming to progress in the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings. Pakistan captain Azhar Ali and vice-captain Babar Azam will be among the players in focus for Pakistan.
Azhar, presently 27th among batsmen, will be hoping to regain the form that lifted him to sixth in December 2016. Babar will be hoping to progress from a career-best aggregate of 800 rating points. Babar is currently sixth after having occupied a career-high fifth place in February.
For England, Stokes displaced West Indies captain Jason Holder from the top of the all-rounders’ list during the last series and formerly top-ranked Stuart Broad rose to the third position in the bowlers’ list, currently led by Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins.
Stokes is also England’s top-ranked batsman in the fourth position, with captain Joe Root (ninth) and opener Rory Burns (17th) the side’s next batsmen on the list.
Where and when can you watch Pakistan vs England LIVE?
Pakistan vs England will be aired LIVE only on SONY SIX channels from August 5 2020, 3.30 pm onwards. It will be available for live streaming on SONY LIV.