Dmitri on the decks for this one, written on Wednesday night, a couple of days before the game is due to begin. This won’t be long.
As we all know, England came out on the wrong end of a hard fought game, with the best performances by the visitors just about overcoming Chris Woakes’ break out game. With Woakes proving such a success, it is Jake Ball, who let no-one down on his debut likely to give way for the fit for the first test (so we are told) Jimmy Anderson, and possibly Finn may make way for a second spinner (or if Ball keeps his place), or more likely for Ben Stokes. There may be questions around Moeen with Rashid included in the squad, but at the end of the day, they’ll pick who they pick. Whoever they is.
The last time England lost the first test of a series, it was against Australia in Brisbane. That didn’t end well. The last time they lost the first test of a series at home, it was against South Africa in 2012. That didn’t end well either. Pakistan won the first test in England, at Lord’s, in 1996. We lost that series 2-0. So omens aren’t good, are they?
I’m not going to make this a long post, because the joy of these threads are the comments as the game goes by. The press reaction, given how they have the selection committee in their sights at the moment, will also be very interesting. Interest in the series has risen because there is a real contest in prospect. It augurs well. Hopefully the weather plays ball and we get another excellent game.
Comments and observations below. And laughter, as around the tea break and into the evening session, I’ll be having root canal done. Lovely jubbly.