England with much to prove in home Tests

Lloyd Doyle
May 24, 2018

The fans will be hoping that the Joe Root-led side will bounce back in the home conditions.

England won the toss on Thursday and opted to bat first against a new-face Pakistan Test side in the first of the two-match series at the Lord's.

One of those new players was Test debutant Imam-ul-Haq. However while that game might have served as a nice tune up for the tourists, it also showed that they clearly have a few weaknesses.

A toothless bowling attack, brittle opening batting partnership and callow spin options leave England with much to prove in the home Tests against Pakistan.

Rahat Ali has been replaced by the Hasan Ali from the playing XI that beat Ireland in the one-off Test by five wickets.

By contrast, Mohammad Amir - whose career came to a shuddering halt after his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal, wicket-keeper Sarfraz and batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq have all played at the London headquarters of Marylebone Cricket Club.

The loss of Yasir is a blow, but it does at least give them a chance to properly blood Shadab in unfamiliar conditions and it will be intriguing to see how he gets on.

Pakistan's cricket team players laugh during a training session at Lord's cricket ground in London Wednesday
Sarfraz Ahmed wants Pakistan's senior service to lead against England at Lord's

Pakistan clash against England in a 2-Test series, after their win over Ireland last week.

One man who may feel a little fortunate to still be in the side is Mark Stoneman, who has endured a miserable start to the County Championship season but who impressed those who mattered sufficiently during England's hard winter.

James Anderson, 35, and 31-year-old Stuart Broad are still the mainstays of a pace attack which struggled to make inroads in the Australian top order. The first Test of the series will be played at Lord's.

Jack Leach played against New Zealand and looked promising but he was ruled out with a broken thumb and England have called up uncapped 20-year-old Dominic Bess.

England captain Joe Root selected paceman Mark Wood over Chris Woakes, who would have been a second all-rounder in the team along with Ben Stokes.

"If you see England's last four months they are not good for them", said Sarfraz.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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