England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test Preview

Perhaps the most welcome facet of the build up to this third Test is that with the series at one apiece it is both alive and very much uncertain as to the outcome. England may well have well and truly battered Pakistan last time out, but at least much of the press have learnt some lessons from the past and avoided the “momentum” cliché. One sided matches have little effect on the following game, indeed the Ashes last year seemed to provoke the opposite result. Therefore there is no particular reason to assume this match will go the same way.

Indeed, it could be argued that one very special innings from someone who is becoming a very special player ultimately proved the difference. Cricket is what it always has been, an individual game in a team context. A player can have an impact that decides a match, even if the coup de grace occurs a couple of days later.

Pakistan will feel that they had the worst of the conditions at Old Trafford and were beaten by a sublime knock. It happens, and even if it is a crutch on which to lean rather than the whole story, it still means that a fresh start in the next game ensures all possibilities are there.

That said, Edgbaston is a happy hunting ground for England, and a home victory, subject to weather, is probably where the probabilities lie. But a talented Pakistan attack have the capability of ripping through England in any conditions, particularly given the soft middle order. This match is subject to the same vagaries as all the others – two fine bowling attacks, two brittle batting orders.

Where England have had an advantage is in the lower middle order. That is best defined by the lack of comment that replacing the injured Stokes with Finn rather obviously weakens the batting, but only in the sense that it is now simply strong rather than ridiculously so. Moeen at a likely number eight is still a dangerous customer, though he could do with a few runs after his less than impressive dismissals recently. Woakes of course is simply having a golden run with both bat and ball, in the way all rounders seem to do.

Alastair Cook indicated that England would go in with four seamers and a spinner, suggesting that someone has had a word with the groundsman the pitch is not likely to favour Yasir Shah overly, though proverbially leg spinners do have the ability to turn the ball on glass. He remains a substantial threat, particularly given England’s continued vulnerability to it, Old Trafford notwithstanding.

Edgbaston is one of the more raucous, enjoyable Test venues to visit, and Pakistan should have plenty of support too. If the cricket lives up to the crowd, it might just be something special. Not every Test can be an exceptional one, thus far this series we’ve had one excellent match and one that was too one sided to be truly enjoyable, except for partisan reasons. Here’s hoping we are lucky and get a second good one.

Comments on Day One Below


65 thoughts on “England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test Preview

  1. nonoxcol Aug 2, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    Apparently Hussain resigned the England captaincy after an innings defeat against Australia at Edgbaston in 2001.

    The rest of Selvey’s preview could have been written by a well programmed bot, missing only the “gratuitous swipe at Rashid” input. However will we cope when he departs?


    • SimonH Aug 2, 2016 / 8:31 pm

      “Anecdotally, from someone actively involved, Finn was outstanding in practice before the second Test”.

      An “I know more than you” and “he was good in the nets” in less than a sentence.

      I’ll miss him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Aug 2, 2016 / 8:34 pm

        Opponent now changed, but not the year.

        Must get round to paying my Guardian subscription.


      • nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 5:25 am

        Hysterical comment from “dejinx” overnight.

        I really don’t understand this world any more.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 3, 2016 / 6:39 am

          As I say, “unjust” dismissals of your favourites without a full explanation can be really hard to take and make you angry.

          I feel their pain. Pity they couldn’t do likewise. Bertie……

          Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 6:41 am

        No! The finest writer of this generation is not FICJAM the alleged plagiarist, it’s Bull the establishment lackey!

        Great stuff. The new Guardian BTL in a nutshell there.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 3, 2016 / 6:49 am

          I’m sorry. I couldn’t read through the bile on the screen. Grammar was decent though.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 3, 2016 / 7:04 am

          Seems FICJAM didn’t write the Economist piece but belatedly acknowledged its relevance to his. Noel Edmonds will be presenting the “gotcha” soon.

          Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Aug 3, 2016 / 6:54 am

        I’ve never quite understood the tendency to genuflect to the preachers on the mount in the Guardian pages. It’s gone on for years. No wonder the hacks get an inflated sense of self worth, their acolytes keep telling them how wonderful they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Aug 3, 2016 / 6:59 am

        I’ve always considered the people here to be stood in front of us with rocks in their hands, debating whether or not to use them…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 9:27 am

        Too funny! So The Economist did write the original piece. And therefore Smith did not aknowledge the heavy lifting that had been done by the original author. (Although that has now been aknowledged on the Cricinfo page) Better late than never I guess.

        Smith wrote a book once on “luck,” and he would seem to be an expert on that subject. Others who have taken work they didn’t write without aknowledgement have ended up in hot water. Smith is lucky he has so many understanding bosses. But his stock price has now fallen considerably. Smith is reduced to the buy one, get one free section of the store.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Aug 3, 2016 / 12:11 pm

        That ‘clarification’ (I was going to call it a non-apology apology but it isn’t even that) is the most nauseating thing I’ve read since New man last wrote something about Compton.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B Aug 3, 2016 / 12:32 pm

        This whole FICJAM stuff is absolutely hilarious. Yes Ed, it must’ve been worth all the effort to get an MA in English Literature (and to keep reminding us) only to virtually lift a whole article off the Economist!

        I wonder whether the poor saps who are paying £7,950 for his course MA History of Sport will be taught the same?

        Anyone fancy crowdfunding me to find out???

        Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 5:21 pm

        Interesting FICJAM debate I just read on Twitter 😉

        Whoever would have guessed?


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 3, 2016 / 5:31 pm

          Yes. Because we’ve only just been saying it.

          Maybe the top journo poll we did was an illusion….


  2. Sean B Aug 2, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Just as an aside, why was Cook lying awake at 2am working out whether Finn or Ball should be selected. That’s what we’ve got a coaching staff isn’t it or is ‘the special one’ the Chief selector now??


    • Mark Aug 2, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      Good spot Sean. It would seem Cook is picking the team now as well. We had all the fuss before the last test match with Newman reporting that Strauss is going to sack the selectors and overhaul the system. It would be irresponsible not to speculate question if Cook has thrown a tantrum behind the scenes and they have agreed to his demands? That would explain the medias desire to tell us how great Strauss is for doing this. Seeing as they act as Cooks own private propaganda unit.

      As for journalists being more cautious in their predictions the leg glance obviously didn’t hear Simon Hughes last night who pretty much implied it was almost pointless Pakistan turning up. The weather has changed you see. The rain will green up the out field, and that means it will be difficult for the Pakistan bowlers to get the ball to reverse swing. And we all know what our bowlers can do in these conditions. I fear he might be right. Can’t see Pakistan scoring much more than 250 max if it is bowler friendly.

      We will see.


    • thelegglance Aug 3, 2016 / 7:00 am

      I saw that too. But don’t captain and coach decide in the morning who of the twelve to go with?


      • Escort Aug 3, 2016 / 9:06 am

        That should be how it works Isn’t it?


      • Sean B Aug 3, 2016 / 12:36 pm

        That’s generally what i thought, but obviously Napoleon, sorry I meant Captain Cook, decides by himself these days who plays and then informs the Politburo! Sorry ECB coaches.

        Keep getting confused…


  3. LordCanisLupus Aug 2, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    My tweet of the day:

    Jeepers. He thinks Colvile is the font of negativity? Blimey…..


    • Mark Aug 2, 2016 / 9:01 pm

      I don’t get it…….is he being sarcastic? Wonder what they said?


    • nonoxcol Aug 2, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      One of the respondents says “I just wish Sky would do positive”.

      I just don’t understand this world any more.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 2, 2016 / 9:30 pm

        I live in a parallel universe where Cook was put under pressure by the media, Sky are negative, and every journalist has the readership in their mind and not access.

        Oh, and it’s clear why KP was sacked. There, I’ve said it.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 2, 2016 / 9:36 pm

        Message to matey. Kids ain’t watching cricket much any more. Keep up with the message.

        Redemption for Colevile. That’s what I want.


      • Mark Aug 2, 2016 / 9:53 pm

        The only one doing any moaning is Mr Stupid (Richard)

        I guess the ENGLAND cricket team has become accustomed to such fawning coverage from the likes of Newman and Selvey they are not used to some minor questioning.

        How will Sky respond? Will they go full on Fawn?


      • Benny Aug 3, 2016 / 1:55 am

        Ah “Richard”. I love rhyming slang


    • Escort Aug 3, 2016 / 9:08 am

      How very Rooney like.


  4. Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 8:43 am

    NASSER HUSSAIN: Ballance has to learn from captain Cook

    But does he come from the right family? Did he go to the right school? And has the media been playing defence for him for 3 years?

    All these questions, and more (won’t) be answered by the once very good pundit….. Nasser Hussain.

    Cook…Captain, opening batsman, selector, man of steel, Englands greatest farmer, role model for everyone else…….. Never meet your heroes Nasser!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 3, 2016 / 10:08 am

      It then turns in the main to Moeen Ali. Bemoaning his form and shot selection. And then mentioning he made 155 four tests ago. Baffled.com


  5. Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 9:57 am

    Oh f*** me……..its a fake Townes Van Zandt!


    • Zephirine Aug 3, 2016 / 4:07 pm

      Soon after that, Dan Lucas definitely trolling in over 15 of the OBO. At least, I hope so.


      • nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 4:56 pm

        Doubt it. Smyth said the same, word for word, during the first Test. It’s the new reality.


  6. SteveT Aug 3, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Swanny on TMS for the first time this series. Here’s hoping he is true to his word and is feeling physically sick at the sight of Amir taking part. Interesting call from Misbah to bowl first, Seems that recent history at the ground favours the side batting second. We shall see. Bold call though, Yasir won’t be bowling in the 4th innings.


  7. Zephirine Aug 3, 2016 / 10:18 am

    I’m still trying to deal with the experience of the Brett Lee movie trailer. It’s impossible to tell if he’s OK in the film, he may well be, but it’s just …. unnerving. Where is the cricket? Why is he not bowling? Is this what Ed Smith would call cognitive dissonance?


    • fred Aug 3, 2016 / 10:03 pm

      As someone who taught TEFL English in Scotland some time ago to foreign students, and who struggled to get a Japanese girl to say “like” with the correct vowel sound, I really don’t see the humour in Lee’s language class efforts.
      The fact that the rest of my trainee teacher colleagues down the back of the class were pissing themselves laughing still puzzles me to this day.


      • thelegglance Aug 3, 2016 / 10:05 pm

        Were you not tempted to teach it to the Scots too while you were there?*

        *posted from a position of safety in the south


      • fred Aug 3, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        I tried, but they were beyond help.
        Edinburgh wasn’t so bad, Glasgow was beyond all recognition.


  8. nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 10:43 am

    By the way, cricket-nostalgia-heads might know, or like to know, that next Tuesday is the 25th anniversary of….


  9. SimonH Aug 3, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Edgbaston looks a little over half full from the pictures I’ve seen. Anyone heard anything about advance sales?

    Any sightings of official crowd stats would be appreciated. There never were any for OT that I’ve been able to find.



    • Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 11:59 am

      I think there is a disconnect between tickets sold, and actual bums on seats. Tickets sold to corporate entities may not actully attend. And it is a Wednesday start, so people maybe can’t leave their work?


    • Andy Aug 3, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      I think I heard TMS say that 15,000 tickets had been sold for day 1 (just before lunch).

      Ground capacity is 25,000 according to Mr Google.

      As mentioned though – whether there are 15,000 people in is completely different!


  10. SimonH Aug 3, 2016 / 11:28 am

    Tim Wigmore – definitely not the finest journalist of his generation and not fit to lace the boots of Andy Bull I now realise thanks to the BTL wisdom of the Guardian – has written this on club v country:


    I’d have said it’s a superbly researched article on one of the greatest issues facing the game but as it doesn’t imply he knows stuff we don’t, plagiarise someone else or write about it as if it’s some sort of jokey soap opera, I must be mistaken. If only he could learn how to do it from some quality journalists…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 3:31 pm

      There is part of me that wants this to happen. Only because it would make the ECB less powerful. The counties really need to get their act together, and start creating a 20/20 tournament that makes big money. Then, They will be able to tell the ECB to take a hike. The ECB could become as irrelevent as the FA.


  11. SteveT Aug 3, 2016 / 3:17 pm

    4.15 and they’re already talking about not getting the full allocation of overs in before 6.30


    • Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 3:28 pm

      I think they only bowled 26 overs before lunch……. so straight away there’re behind the eight ball. But no one cares about over rates these days. Only cranks like us.


  12. thelegglance Aug 3, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    Safe in the knowledge that this is absolutely bound to put the mockers on him….

    Is there any batsman in world cricket better to watch than Moeen Ali? There are loads who are better players, but better to watch?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SimonH Aug 3, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    SA will be without ABDV and Morkel for the NZ Tests. Both have been injured playing franchise cricket. Steyn and Philander are recalled.

    SA’s A team, despite containing seven Test players, has just been thrashed by Australia A.


  14. BoredInAustria Aug 3, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    Graeme Swann – Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    Well done, Gary Ballance. He’s a very popular member of the team and it was no surprise to me when he was brought back into the side. Some players fit the mould


    • Mark Aug 3, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      So Swann is admitting England pick on popularity in the dressing room?

      I think we had guessed that already. Face has to fit.


  15. nonoxcol Aug 3, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    Genuinely can’t believe that lbw came up as “umpires call”.


  16. metatone Aug 3, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    Misbah made an error in bowling first I suspect. The rain tomorrow will juice pitch and atmosphere and we’ll see a lot more swing. Just what the England bowlers will want.


    • man in a barrel Aug 3, 2016 / 8:05 pm

      Don’t they cover the pitch these days? And a slippery ball makes it tough for swing bowlers.


  17. SimonH Aug 3, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    West Indies in serious danger of saving the match in Jamaica.


    • d'Arthez Aug 3, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      Still quite some time left (47 overs and a bit), and West Indies still have a deficit of almost 50 runs. They need to bat at least 34 of them. Possible, but still a tall ask.

      I have seen too many false dawns from the West Indies to even hope that this is an attempt to turn the corner – though I would be happy if they actually did turn the corner.


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