Pakistan (Playing XI): Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas
England (Playing XI): Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Joe Root(c), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow(w), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Dominic Bess, James Anderson
10:32am local: Righto, England have started it on the right note. They bat. But don’t forget Amir. And the green.
England have won the toss and have opted to bat
When you look at the teams, it’s easy to dismiss Pakistan. They are ranked seventh, soring from the absence of retirees Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, and will now be missing the services of Yasir Shah to an injury. No leg spin heroics from the drawn series in 2016 then, or are we too early to call that? Two words: Shadab Khan. Pakistan play half the number of Tests this time, frustratingly as an appetizer for the India series, but that also translates to the requirement of winning a Test less. Certainly not half the effort, but a part-fluke part-toil kind of arrangement might just work. And they start in London of all places, the mother to their recent cricketing mythos, be it (pushing-up) Misbah’s hundred, be it that Younis Khan-starring series-leveling Oval Test win, be it the Champions Trophy win over India, a slice of history that made Pakistan feel great in their own eyes again.