Pakistan vs England second test cricket match is an ongoing engagement which promises to be a high class encounter. Both the countries are leading the entire cricket world in many areas, and this match is no different. Both batsmen and bowlers are confident about the win or draw that they get during this match.
The teams have performed well in the past two test cricket matches against England. Pakistan won the first match convincingly, but lost the second by a narrow margin. It was a close call, as both teams had plenty of chances to win the series. However, with an all-round strong performer like Misbah ul Haq who has played consistently and effectively throughout the Tests, Pakistan can go into the series as favourites. Their overall performance in this match says it all about their ability to contend with the best.
Despite having two quality all round performers, the England team has a weak attack, and this is what costs them dearly in the series. During this match only three batsmen completed a hundred runs together. With limited scoring opportunities due to the slow pace of play, captain Alastair Cook made a few mistakes that cost Pakistan many valuable points. The inability to drive the ball into the right field was another contributory factor for the defeat. Against better bowlers and faster bowlers in the international arena, Cook will need to be even better to make an impact. Captaincy options for Pakistan include Sarfraz Ahmed and Inzamam Buttock, who have performed well lately.
On the other hand, England have had some trouble in the last part of the home season, but the ongoing matches against New Zealand have given them the required boost. Twenty-five points from five matches is not a bad amount by any standards, but it is just not good enough to win at the rate that England are going. Fortunately, the bowling conditions appear to be improving with each game. This has led to some positive developments in the bowling performance of batsmen like Jonathan Agrounder and Will Woolfrey, and hopefully this will help England to improve on their performances.
With bat and bowling stats being closely related, sometimes it can be difficult to evaluate them separately. However, if we look at these stats along with the IPL matches that Pakistan is playing in the United Kingdom, then we can safely say that the pace is a major factor that is dragging the two teams towards each other. The match between Pakistan and England at the UAE Gold Cup final was a perfect example of pace bowling. Pakistan were bowled easily in the first four overs and were never able to get a single wicket in that period. Only when they took their fourth and fifth overs were they able to push ahead and build an early lead.
Pakistan seemed to have regrouped and re-energized after being out bowled throughout the test series. There are positives and negatives associated with every team in every Test match. Injuries are obviously a negative aspect in any type of sport, but Pakistan seems to have taken the injury issues positively. The fact that Azharullah was fit to play proved that he had not suffered any muscle injuries that would prevent him from playing. It will be interesting to see how Azharullah performs against an England team that does not have its top spinner, James Anderson, in their team.
The other aspect that helps bowlers win is the bounce. It is no secret that England have one of the highest bounce rates in the world. It will be interesting to see how Azharullah responds to being bowling against some of the best bowlers in the world. If he does not bowl well then it may take an exceptional display from an England spinner to put Pakistan out at the break. Otherwise, Pakistan may find themselves slipping to the lower end of the world rankings with a poor performance against England in their next test match.
If Pakistan wants to win the toss in this series, then they need to make sure that they do not get side tracked during the entire match. Misreading the bowling conditions can cost a side crucial points in a three-day Test match. Both sides must maintain their preparation before the first day of play, as there is no time to get back into the swing of things when playing the third Test against England.