Pakistan vs England – 1st Test – Match Preview
After conquering the likes of Australia and India, the no.1 ranked Test side England is all set to take on Pakistan in the 1st Test match, which will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, January 17, 2011.
The Poms have been the inform team as far as the longer version of cricket is concerned, where they have been the dominant force for over two years. After winning back to back Ashes, they ruled over the Men In Blue on their home turf, consequently reaching
the summit of Test cricket in July last year.
Given the strength in depth of the Poms star-studded line up, and a mentor in Andy Flower, whose ethics are unquestionable, they have certainly have what it takes to remain the dominant after coming out of the shadows of their closest rivals, Australia.
The biggest point to prove will be their approach in conditions of the sub-continent where they have fallen short of expectations in recent times.
This will be their first major assignment since the mauling they inflicted on the Indians. Nothing has changed since then as far as their lineup is concerned which sees Andrew Strauss retuning to lead the side.
The series will also be the first for a host of players making their comeback through injuries which include the likes of Eoin Morgan, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett. Despite Tim Bresnan being ruled out of the series, the promising youngsters waiting in
the wings ultimately offers plenty of options for Strauss in testing physical conditions of the UAE.
The major point to consider will concern the bowling combination. The tried and tested three seamers preference has worked well for the Poms but going by the flat nature of the pitches, the inclusion of two spinners could be a viable option, especially with
left-armer, Monty Panesar performing well in the warm up games.
Their fate however, will be tested to the fullest as they gear on to take another rejuvenated side – Pakistan, who has managed to erase the embarrassing memories of the last time the two sides played in 2010, which led to the infamous incident of spot-fixing.
Since then, the Men In Green have performed well in the past year or so, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup before winning three series on the trot under the leadership of Misbah-ul-Haq.
While two of those successes have come against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the vibes around the camp suggest that they are prepared to prove their worth against top ranked oppositions.
In the previous series played here, Pakistan determinedly beat Sri Lanka in all formats of the game, courtesy of a good blend of experience and youth in both departments.
In the bowling section, Umar Gul has certainly framed himself as the spear head of the attack, followed by the likes of Junaid Khan and Aizaz Cheema, who too have given ample support. They have been expertly complimented by the spinning duo of Saeed Ajmal
and Abdur Rehman.
Their batting line up also produced the goods but it is expected that the English bowlers will provide a sterner test. The key will be Younis Khan, who has been a prolific run getter for the team in the past 12 months. His experience in the middle order
will be precious in minimizing the threat of their opponents.
The pitch as always will be on a slow side and both sides will be looking to capitalize on the early movement from the new ball. The temperature is expected to rise as the game progresses, so physical toughness will be crucial.