– Jimmy Jimmy Jimmyyyy!
– No more Mo?
– Pakistan’s bowlers confident
The Test series between England and Pakistan moves to Manchester for the second match, and James Anderson will make his return to the side on his home ground, having watched the defeat at Lord’s from the sidelines.
Paceman Anderson was not picked for the first Test as he was still slightly injured, though not according to himself, Stuart Broad, or Alastair Cook, but will take his rightful place at the helm come Friday.
Who he replaces will be the question, as it won’t be Chris Woakes, who took 11 wickets in the 75-run loss. Woakes was England’s best player, so it will be Steve Finn or Jake Ball, who had a lacklustre debut, to make way.
Both of those could be dropped though, as England need to find a place for Ben Stokes as well. He is also recovered from injury, and is just as handy with the ball as Finn or Ball, and better with the bat.
Then we come to spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali. He was ineffectual at Lord’s, and went for plenty of runs off the blade of Misbah-ul-Haq in the first innings. Adil Rashid has been added to the squad, and could either replace Moeen, or fielded as a second spinner, which means James Vince could be dropped?
Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes from their winning side, and will be confident that Yasir Shah, who took 10 wickets at Lord’s, will trouble England’s batsmen even more on a deck that actually has some turn.
Paceman Mohammad Amir had a nice, easy return to the game at the Home of Cricket, where everyone was polite and he got only a few jibes from the crowd. But Manchester is unlikely to be as kind, and he’ll be eager to shut them up with a good performance.
All this being said, England are still the favourites with the bookies, with one Rand bet earning 90c for a win. A win for Pakistan is at R2.35 back, while a draw is R2.55.
If Pakistan win the series 3-0, they will become the top-ranked Test side in the world.