I am sure nearly everyone knows that England are playing very good cricket at the moment and seem to have a balanced and effective team in all codes of the game. As they head in to the 1st test at Lords they go full of confidence and rightly so but how many know that Pakistan haven’t lost any of their last 5 test series and that amid some of the most difficult off field times for any team. They too behave like a team who believes and they are well schooled by Mickey Arthur and well captained by Misbah-ul-Haq who seems to have both respect and discipline within his ranks.
However for some in the Pakistan team a test at Lords is a big event and you cant help feeling this match will really shape the series, for whomever comes out on top. Pressure is something that gets to everyone and shuld Pakistan have to bat first then wickets may tumble quickly. True the same could be said for England with a “hotchpotch” batting line up with Root at 3 but there is no doubting that England bat a long way down and certainly further than Pakistan and in a match where I expect ball to dominate bat surely eeking out an extra 50 runs from 8-11 is going to be vital.
This game will be decided by the team that holds their catches and as strange as it sounds for that reason we need to be with England. They are a terrific fielding side as they showed last year here at Lords when they rifled out Australia with some amazing bowling and fielding. Of course Jimmy Anderson is a big loss. Who wouldn’t miss the best swing bowler in the world but England has a lot more fire power and its taller, makes the ball bounce more, straighter and more effective than Pakistan’s. They also bat deeper and better. Man for man they are better.
My man at Lords tells me the pitch will be “sporty” and that has to favour the home team. On sporty wickets everyone gives chances, drop a top order bastman and he makes 150 and then all out 180 becomes 340 and suddenly you are up against it. England will prevail and have to be backed.