England v Pakistan: 5 player battles in the first Test
A closer look at some of the individual battles that will shape the First Test match between England and Pakistan
The English international season gets underway tomorrow when England take on Pakistan tomorrow at Lord’s in the first Test of the two-Test series. It will be a contest between two sides who are both in the process of building new sides and a large number of players will probably be playing against each other for the first time. However, as is always the case, both these teams do have an experienced core and that group of players will ultimately have the biggest impact on the game.
It is often tough for sub-continental sides to get into their grooves straightaway on tours to England and it is going to be doubly tough for Pakistan because of the relative inexperience in the side. Not many in the side have played in England before and even fewer have a lot of experience in Test cricket. It is going to be a challenge for the young side but then again, Pakistan are known for springing surprises and the English team will need to be at their best as well. The game will also witness some intriguing individual battles over the course of the Test at Lord’s and here is a look at 5 of the most important ones.
#5 Babar Azam v Stuart Broad
The right-handed batsman is often regarded as the future of Pakistani cricket and considering Babar Azam’s technical excellence, it is not such a bad assertion at all. However, he has played only 12 Tests so far and this is his first tour to England. Experience is something that is not in his favor and hence, his battle with an old warhorse like Stuart Broad is going to be so interesting.
Azam’s 59 against Ireland in that tense run chase at Dublin shows that he is a player who has the technique and the temperament for the highest level, but Stuart Broad is a different kettle of fish altogether. The England fast bowler is equally lethal with the old ball as he is with the new one and has the ability to make most batsmen uncomfortable with the sort of bounce he generates. Batting at number 5, Azam would need to find a way to counter Broad’s aggression and it promises to be a pivotal battle in the larger context of the first Test at Lord’s.