The Pakistani cricket team is as unpredictable as the English weather. They had a hay day on the first day of this Tets match before Anderson and Co wreaked havoc by picking up 4 wickets and conceding less than 50 runs in the 1st session on Day 2. However, Pakistan's lower order offered some resistance along with the centurion Shan Masood. Can England limit Pakistan's score and then hope that their much-famed batting lineup will come to the fore to gain a substantial lead?
Who are the favourites?
The much-famed English batting lineup pitted against the swing prowess of Mohammad Abbas and the raw pace of Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi, as well as the quality English bowling lineup against the likes of Shan Masood, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali. That is a mouth-watering prospect. The Pakistani team has challenged the English supremacy in Tests in the UK in recent years. However, England will have the upper hand in this Test match due to a few reasons which are listed below.
1) The Ben Stokes factor- Ben Stokes has shown in recent years how much he has grown as a cricketer in all the facets of the game. He was the Player of the Series against the West Indies recently. Pakistan needs to keep him quiet while he's batting and bowling.
2) Potent first-change bowlers- Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer are the perfect first-change bowlers to complement the likes of Broad and Anderson. With minimal loose balls, they will make the Pakistani batsmen work harder for runs with their immaculate accuracy and prowess.
3) England has momentum on its side. The last time a team managed to beat England in England in a Test series was Sri Lanka in 2014. They have managed to keep every visiting team quiet.
4) England is much more experienced in these conditions. Also, their record at the Old Trafford in Tests is enviable this century.
Scorecard Predictions for Day 3
England will end Day 3 with a score of 370/7 with one century expected from any of the top or middle-order batsmen. Expect Ben Stokes to score at a brisk pace.
Expect the captain winning the toss to bat first even if there are some cloud covers and a green top. The average first-innings score is 333. Also, another factor is that the average fourth-innings score is 166 which prompts the skipper winning the toss to bat first and put the opposition under pressure in the last innings.
Match Winning Chances
England will be buoyed by its performance at the same venue twice against the West Indies. Expect no difference this time around as well. They are better equipped to clinch the 1st Test and move 1-zip going into the 2nd Test match.