England begin their series against Pakistan in UAE with the first Test at Abu Dhabi from October 13. Get the latest Pakistan v England 1st Test betting tips & predictions below.
It’s no surprise that England come into this series as underdogs despite having won the recently-concluded Ashes. The Ashes was a big win in that they weren’t the favourites by some distance and only a few months had lost their previous Ashes series 5-0.
And under the able leadership of Alastair Cook and new coach Trevor Bayliss, England managed to turn things around. That should give them a lot of confidence coming into this series but even they will know the futility of that confidence coming into a series which will be played on pitches and conditions so different from the ones back home.
Yep, that’s going to be England’s biggest concerns. How to manage the surfaces that will take turn early and the weather that will be hot and dusty.
To add to their concerns will be the fact Pakistan are themselves in some sort of a form. They had defeated Australia 3-0 at ‘home’ and then overcame Pakistan 2-1 in the last series they played away. England will need to come up with something really special.
The one advantage England do have is they have two decent-quality spinners in their ranks. So while their batsmen will still to need find out ways to overcome the Pakistani tweakers, they can at least take heart from the fact they should be able to dish out the same medicine.
Last time they had played Pakistan in UAE was three years ago when they had lost 3-0. Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq has been rather categorical in saying that the team he sees now isn’t as strong as the one they played against last time although he did admit the Ashes win would have given England a lot of confidence too.
It could just be gamesmanship from Misbah as well. After all, he is also on his last legs, having earlier proclaimed the proposed series between Pakistan and India was going to be his last in international cricket. Unfortunately for cricket fans, that series looks likely not to be played and Misbah could have some reassessment to be done.
One thing’s for certain – if Pakistan don’t beat England, his place as a captain might become untenable, so the pressure is actually on him and his side to come up trumps here.
England look like they will have a new opener in Moeen Ali while Pakistan will be without Azhar Ali who suffered an injury. Former England captain Michael Vaughan called out for James Anderson to be dropped from the XI for the opener in these conditions but those chances look bleak.
Pakistan v England Tests head to head in Tests:
Overall, it’s 22-16 in favour of England, but Pakistan have won four of their last five Tests including a 3-0 whitewash last time in UAE.
Pakistan v England 1st Test betting tips:
Pakistan to win: 5/4 (bet365)
Alastair Cook to be England’s top batsman: 4/1
Younis Khan to be Pakistan’s top batsman: 5/1
Match starts at 10 am local time (0600 hrs GMT) on October 13