England completed a thrilling come-from-behind win in the first Test against Pakistan in Manchester. A quick turnaround means that the teams have just three days between matches as the 2nd Test begins on Thursday in Southampton. Here is our preview along with cricket betting tips for the match.
Two players low on confidence stepped up on the fourth day to complete a stunning comeback for England. Chris Woakes had been frequently picked and dropped in an emotional rollercoaster, which included a significant loss of batting form, while Jos Buttler had a woeful game behind the stumps in Manchester. A sixth-wicket partnership of 139 in a fourth-innings chase of 277 changed everything as England won by three wickets, led by Woakes’ unbeaten 84 and Buttler’s 75.
After conceding a first-innings lead of 107, it was down to England’s bowlers to give themselves a chance. Pakistan’s batsmen weren’t able to handle that sustained pressure brought by five quality seamers and succumbed to 169 all out. Their batting was a bit hot and cold right through that Test. Shan Masood scored a terrific 156 in the first innings, while Babar Azam made a delectable 69.
It definitely seems like Azam has pinned down the No. 4 role for himself with a run of terrific form right through 2019 and this year. He is Pakistan’s most equipped batsman, playing the ball late and under his eyes, requisites to succeed in England conditions. It’s quite a safe bet to back him for top Pakistan batsman in the first innings again.
England will have to do without the services of Ben Stokes for the remainder of this series. He has had to fly to New Zealand to attend to a personal matter. "The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Stokes family, requests that all media respects the family's privacy at this time," an ECB statement said.
That will leave a massive hole in England’s batting line-up, one which will have to be filled by their best batsman Joe Root. Since his return to England’s team for the second Test against West Indies, these are his scores: 23, 22, 17, 68*, 14 and 42. These returns are not a fair reflection of his skill. His Test average has slipped below 50 now to 48.05. Still, he has 7785 runs in his Test career, with 17 hundreds and 49 fifties. A big score is around the corner for England’s captain.
It should be another great Test match but after surviving the 1st Test match scare, we expect England to now gain control of the series. During the West Indies series, England were able to turn things around in the second and third Tests, as it is hard for touring teams to maintain their intensity over an entire series. Ben Stokes is a great loss, but if the batting can hold up, England have the bowling firepower to take 20 wickets and claim the 2nd Test match.
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