England vs Pakistan Test Match
England vs Pakistan Test Match

England vs Pakistan, 2nd Test: Match prediction, preview & probable 11

Deadline: August 13, 3:30 PM IST

Venue: The Rose Bowl, Southampton

Pitch report

The wicket at The Rose Bowl is sporting enough to offer something for everyone. The fact that the West Indies chased down 200 a month ago makes matters more fascinating. The mantra, however, is to watch the ball closely and play it late, and the runs will come by gradually. Otherwise, it wouldn’t take long for a batting lineup to derail to a record low score in English conditions.

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Weather report

All five days may witness a moderate to heavy rain. You never know, though. It is, after all, the English weather: sadly surprising.

Power players

Shan Masood has all the traits a modern-day athlete strives for: he is tall, muscular, and nimble. Above all, he seems to have complete control over his strokeplay – the most vital factor in Test cricket. Although he can play at a brisk rate, he does not mind leaving all six deliveries of an over. All this helped him score a stunning knock of 156 runs last week. He was unlucky that he was caught behind on the leg-side in the second innings, but he seems to be a man in his prime. To add more fuel to the fire, he has scored 3 hundreds in his last 3 Tests.

Babar Azam was as stylish as ever, but it was his positive brand of cricket against a quality pace attack that caught everyone’s attention. He has scored 4 hundreds and as many fifties in his last 6 Tests.

The same was the case with Ollie Pope. He took the crease when England were reduced to 12 for 3. The ball moved more than expected, and the Pakistan pace attack gave no margin for error. None of these things posed any threat to the young Pope, as he kept the scoreboard ticking with boundaries and quick running between the wicket.

Chris Woakes is in the peak of his form. His unbeaten 84 in a nervous chase of 277 runs makes it to the top of the list of achievements. The fact that he was trusted as a No. 7 batsman makes it even more special. With the ball, he rarely missed his lines and lengths. He dismissed Azhar Ali twice and Babar Azam once.

Smart picks

Yasir Shah picked 8 wickets and played a quickfire 33 off 24. Although it was not enough for Pakistan to pull off a victory, his contributions helped the fantasy players better their rankings.

Joe Root starts off well and looks good for a hundred, but that’s that. He fails to progress, and you wonder how come a batsman of his calibre does not play long innings. At the venue, he has scores of 3, 56, 4, and 48.

Shadab Khan’s energy kept Pakistan active: he was electric on the field and busy with the bat. He played a crucial knock of 45 runs and took 2 wickets.

Mohammad Abbas’ delivery that breached Ben Stokes’ defence will be celebrated forever. For a medium pacer who creates magic in the subcontinent, England is his holy place. The cracks seem to open up for a fraction of a second – just when the ball is about to hit the ground – and then mysteriously disappear. Given the weather, he is likely to get more wickets.

Jos Buttler has finally squashed the critics with brave knocks in the first Test. In both innings, he had to weather the storm and rescue England. In all, he scored 113 runs and pouched 4 catches.

Ever since he was dropped in the opening Test against the West Indies, Stuart Broad has been in a red-hot form, taking 22 wickets in a mere 3 Tests.

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Probable XIs

England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi

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