After winning the first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan, England would be hoping to repeat their performance in the second Test, starting from August 13 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Right after the completion of the first game, England fans received a shocker as top-quality English all-rounder Ben Stokes announced not to play the remaining two matches due to family reasons. Although, England captain Joe Root has another option in the form of Chris Woakes, who played a match-winning knock (84*) in the opening Test, taking his side over the line.
It will be an excellent opportunity for the home team to excel in the World Test Championship (WTC) standings if they end up defeating Pakistan in the second Test. England are currently sitting at the third position with 266 points. If the hosts register a victory in the upcoming match, then they will climb to the second spot. Currently, India with 360 points and Australia with 296 points have occupied the first and second place in WTC.
Pakistan, on the other hand, will look to bounce back in the series. They were totally in control at one stage in the first Test but lost momentum and ended up losing the contest. The visitors are at the fifth position in WTC with 140 points. If the Azhar Ali-led side defeats England in the Southampton Test, then they would come at par with New Zealand, who are in the fourth place with 180 points.
The pitch at the Ageas Bowl tends to favour the pacers. Though, in the recent past, spinners have also found success. There is a prediction of rainfall on Day 2 and Day 3 of the match, but it won’t have that much impact and fans would witness a decent game.
England vs Pakistan, Probable XI:
In the absence of Stokes, middle-order batsman Zak Crawley will join the playing XI. Rest of the team looks fine, and Root wouldn’t want to do too many changes in the team that has taken a 1-0 lead in the series.
Probable XI: Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
The young pace battery of Pakistan featuring Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Abbas has delivered a quality performance in the first Test despite an unfortunate loss. Even with the willow, the tourists did perform well. However, skipper Azhar Ali needs to come back in form in order to contribute and lead the side from the front.
Probable XI: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas.
Here are the fantasy XI suggestions:
Fantasy Suggestion #1:
Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Joe Root, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Mohammad Rizwan, Chris Woakes, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah, Stuart Broad.
Captain: Chris Woakes, Vice-Captain: Yasir Shah
Fantasy Suggestion #2:
Rory Burns, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Joe Root, Babar Azam, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, James Anderson, Jofra Archer.
Captain: Joe Root, Vice-Captain: Shaheen Afridi