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Simon Hughes: England’s batting against Pakistan will be beset by inexperience

12 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: England’s batting against Pakistan will be beset by inexperience

The key to winning Test matches on the UAE pitches is patience - England do not have boundless reserves of it, says the Analyst

England have little chance of winning the series against Pakistan in the UAE.

It will be oppressively hot, the conditions are against them and, in any case, Pakistan have not lost a series in the Emirates since moving there in 2010.

The best England can honestly hope for is a 1-1 draw.

Why?

The key to winning Test matches on these slow, low pitches is patience and England do not have enough batsmen with boundless reserves of it.

Alastair Cook? Definitely. Joe Root, too, and occasionally Ian Bell if he is thinking clearly and not obsessed with trying to hit spinners over the top.

But England’s batting will be beset by inexperience of the conditions and the demands to bat time. Too many of the younger batsmen become fidgety after a few dot balls.

The target should be for the team to stay in for at least 150 overs – the best part of two days – for a score in excess of 450. That enables you to wear down the opposition and control the game.

7/2 – Alistair Cook to be England’s top first-innings batsman

In short, Pakistan – with a middle order built round the ageless Younis Khan and Misbah ul haq – are better at doing that than England.

England lost 22 wickets lbw in three Tests the last time they played Pakistan in the UAE.

They suddenly discovered that the Decision Review System had made the wicket significantly wider (a number of batsmen were given out when the ball was shown to just be clipping the stumps).

Their problem was they were playing for the ball to spin – with bat and pad close together – and often it didn’t. They were struck on the pad – in line – and given out.

The solution is to be more proactive at the crease.

That doesn’t mean kamikaze, it is more about use of the feet – both to get down the pitch and work the ball into space, and back on your stumps to nudge or angle it for runs.

This messes up the spinners’ lengths and stops them building up pressure. Rotation of the strike – sustaining a run-rate of around three an over – is important.

An added problem for England is they haven’t seen much of the Pakistan spinners.

The legspinner Yasir Shah – the quickest Pakistani to 50 Test wickets (from nine Tests) – will be a real threat.

He is an aggressive, vigorous bowler with a strong body action who puts lots of work on the ball and fizzes it through. He knows his game, having played 13 years of first-class cricket.

Adil Rashid – certain to make his Test debut – will learn a lot from seeing the pace he bowls at.

It will be a huge boost to England if, as seems possible, Shah is ruled out of the first test with a back spasm.

But it will not be just a trial by spin.

5/4 – Pakistan to win the first Test against England

Those who watched Pakistan in the World Cup will have seen the potency and aggression of the left-armer Wahab Riaz, too.

He will bowl fast in short bursts – though he tends to be more effective against right-handers than left – and try and rough up the lower order as Mitchell Johnson likes to.

He will be the quickest bowler on either side.

England’s bowlers, of course, face a totally different challenge to bowling on seamer-friendly English pitches.

The ball will not swing here – except in reverse later in the innings – and the bounce is low so edges rarely carry.

It is vital to bowl much straighter with more fielders on the legside, seeking lbws as batsmen try to work the ball for runs.

The short series will be an excellent learning experience for players like Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

There is no doubting their ability, but they will have to adapt – to temper their uninhibited nature with a little more resourcefulness.

They may suffer a few mishaps, but they will emerge better cricketers for the experience.

Pakistan v England first Test betting

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