England have it all to do when they take on Pakistan in the second Test at Headingley, starting on Friday, 1 June.
Their loss in the first Test at Lord’s came as something of a shock. This was a young Pakistan side, their batsmen were expected to be troubled by the veteran duo of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Instead, it was the England batsmen who suffered, dismissed for 184 and 242 as Pakistan won by nine wickets, taking an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
It was Pakistan’s second win in a row on tour – they saw off Ireland earlier in May – and they have all the confidence heading into the second Test.
England, meanwhile, have had to take a long, hard look at themselves. “It s very disappointing,” Trevor Bayliss, the coach, said after the defeat. “Especially from a batting point of view. It was nowhere near good enough for Test level. Pakistan bowled well but we have to be better.”
Their batsmen stepped up in patches. Alistair Cook scored a half-century in the first innings, while all of Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Dom Bess, the debutant, scored fifty in the second.
However, for the most part, the Pakistan pacemen troubled them, with Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas claiming 13 wickets between them in the match.
he England duo of Broad and Anderson managed just five wickets between them, and the latter found himself having to defend their performance. “Stuart and I have 950 Test wickets between us,” Anderson said. “We re doing the best we can for this team.
“I didn t have my best game, I know that. But I m aware of what lengths that need to be bowled on certain pitches.”
Adding to England’s worries is the fact that Ben Stokes has injury worries. The all-rounder sustained a hamstring problem while fielding during practice, and England have drafted in 19-year-old Sam Curran as standby. Stokes is yet to be ruled out, though, and could take the field as a specialist batsman as they look to mend their batting troubles.
While England look to block out all the scrutiny, the atmosphere in the Pakistan camp couldn’t be more different. Their young side have shown themselves more than capable at the highest level, and Amir said it had buoyed the side to do more in the second.“The Lord s victory is a motivation for us, it does give us confidence,” he said. “But we want to do better than that. We can t relax. We want to enjoy that but the attitude and confidence and discipline, it has to be double that of the last game.”
The fractured forearm suffered by Babar Azam – it ruled him out of the tour – means one of Fakhar Zaman, Usman Salahuddin and Sami Aslam is likely to step in. Pakistan have no real worry apart from that.
England: Joe Root (c), Mark Stoneman, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Mark Wood, Sam Curran
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf