By Nick Hoult, at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
The tone sounds very flat, as expected. Interestingly though, the gardener shaved four shoots close to the main surface, two on either side. They were green on Monday, bare now and this was done so the keeper can take shots on the fielders rebound and scratch the ball for the reverse swing later in an attempt to give the bowlers some encouragement.
Over 4: England 30/0 (Crawley 16 Duckett 12)
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Ali tries to deflect onto Duckett’s protections and the English left-footed man makes no mistake. She brilliantly cuts the stapler through the square leg for her second floor and fifth in the morning for tourists. After being bowled straight again and Duckett took two more runs down the leg side. Ali then changed tactics to round the wicket and bowled two pellets to close the over.
The only change from the England XI announced on Tuesday is that Will Jacks came on for Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes (illness) which means another Surrey player Ollie Pope will keep the wicket. Will Jacks and fellow all-rounder Liam Livingstone will make their Test debuts.
England XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (week), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.
The hosts have already announced their squad this morning with four debutants selected in Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Saud Shakeel and Zahid Mahmood, as they host England for the first time in 17 years.
Pakistan titular XI: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (week), Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Ali, Zahid, Mahmood
Ben Stokes has shrugged off his illness and is ready to lead his team. The all-rounder won the toss and elected to bat, clearly wanting to use the pitch first.
Welcome to live coverage of day one of this first Test between England and Sri Lanka live from Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
For the first time since 2005, England travel to Pakistan for a test series in what is sure to be an exciting contest that will really test Ben Stokes’ side on their first foray abroad after a successful English summer .
However, preparations for this first test were hampered by the virus which swept over the England pitch and the test could have been postponed by 24 hours with a decision made just hours ago before play was scheduled to start.
But the good news from the England camp is that today we will start as planned with the tourists able to field an XI. What exact XI remains to be seen, but we shouldn’t wait too long until we find out with the upcoming draw.
One player who has yet to catch the bug is England star Joe Root and it is important to take into account his formidable record in the subcontinent and especially how well he plays against spin as demonstrated over the last couple of years in both Sri Lanka and India .
With that in mind, backing up Root to score 79.5 runs looks like smart play on what could be a very flat pitch in Rawalpindi, the same ground that hosted a high-scoring draw earlier in the year between Pakistan and Australia , with 1187 runs scored. in that Test.
Regarding this particular Test, England’s bowling attacks look light with Mark Wood’s injury and they have opted to select a deep batting formation with plenty of depth, emphasized by Test debutant Liam Livingstone who is expected to bat at number 8 Pakistan’s bowlers boast the pace needed to cause serious trouble for tourists, but taking 20 wickets won’t be an easy task for them. Therefore, he considers backing the draw.
We’ll bring you the draw, squad news and live over-by-over coverage from the first test in Rawalpindi.