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Pakistan v England : First test preview

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England begin their three match test series against Pakistan on Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi and will be hoping for a much improved performance from the last time they were in the UAE.

Back in 2012 England were crushed 3-0 by their hosts and captain Alastair Cook and his side will be aiming to turn this around. Their new exciting brand of cricket from the ashes will fill them with confidence, but they will know that they may have to adapt their game to win here.

The warm up games gave them some much needed match practice, with Steven Finn staking a claim to be England’s third seamer, by taking 4-16. It would seem likely that he would join Broad and Anderson in the seam attack, with Adil Rashid joining Moeen Ali as the second spinner.

England would be crazy not to include a full time second spinner, as asking Joe Root to bowl an important amount of overs would not be beneficial. As seen on their last tour to the UAE, spin was a major part of the cricket, with Saeed Ajmal causing all sorts of problems.

However, one problem that the warm up games did not address was who will open with Cook. Neither Ali or Hales made a significant impact in the warm up games, with them scoring 20 and 9 respectively in the last one. Yet after the game, coach Trevor Bayliss hinted that it would most likely be Ali to partner Cook at the top of the order, but how will it impact his bowling?

As for the opposition, Pakistan are always dangerous in home conditions and have called up the experienced Shoaib Malik to their ranks, who will strengthen their batting line up aswell as pose a threat with his off spin. With his addition, the Pakistan batting looks very strong, as he joins the likes of Younis Khan and captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Unfortunately for them, they will be without Azhar Ali, who has been ruled out of the match in Abu Dhabi due to a foot injury. This has given a boost to James Anderson who said “in that number three spot he was the guy to get out for them-even with the experiences players who came in after him.” He, along with his team, will hope they can capitalise on this and get into the Pakistan middle order as early as possible.

Their bowling will once again pose a big threat to England, with the pace of Wahab Riaz and the spin of Yasir Shah, who took loads of wickets in their last test series against Sri lanka. Even without Saeed Ajmal they have found ways to win test matches, and will feel confident of repeating what happened in 2012.

In what is poised to be a very interesting first test, there is no doubt that the likes of Cook and Bell will need to set the stall with the bat, in order for them to set intimidating first innings leads, which is so vital in sub continental conditions. England still have to ponder who will open with Cook, while Rashid will be relishing the opportunity to show everyone what he is capable of. All of this leaves us thinking about what could happen, but one thing is for certain, England will be determined to put in a much better showing than that of 2012, while Pakistan will look back at this series for motivation.



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