England
England (Credits: Twitter)

After registering two impressive wins over West Indies, England will hope to continue the same form when they take on Pakistan in the first of the three-match series. England will be driven by the fact that they have not won a Test series at home against the side since 2011.

England had lost the first Test to West Indies before bouncing back to win the series 2-1. The series win took them to third in the ICC World Test Championship points table after they gained 80 points. A couple of wins against Pakistan will be enough for Joe Root & Co. to leapfrog Australia and take the second spot in the Test Championship.

On the other hand, Pakistan are in fifth position.The tourists can go level on points with New Zealand if they win even one Test. Pakistan will be short on match practice although they have been in England for a while and have played two intra-squad warm-up matches. Pakistan have drawn their last two Test series in England and will be fancying their chances this time around.

Toss Report:

Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat first in the first Test against England at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Here is what the captains said:

Azhar Ali:

“We can’t control the weather but we are clear in our heads. We are going with two spinner and three seamers, with Shadab as an allrounder. If you come to England you want to bowl fuller and make the batsmen play. We have bowlers who can hit the seam. We are thankful to ECB for the facilities they have given us and we are ready to go.

“You can’t replace Test match cricket with practice games, but we have prepared well and are looking forward to the contest. We love playing in England and we are missing the crowd, we get a lot of support here, but hopefully we can entertain them at home.”

Joe Root:

“We’ve tried to make the most of the practice days, we’ve come in unchanged, we’d probably have batted first. Ben is not quite 100% fit and it’s too big a risk, but his runs have been invaluable and he’s a huge part of the dressing room.”

Here are the playing elevens:

Pakistan:

Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah

England:

Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Root(c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(w), Chris Woakes, Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson