Wed, 26 Jun 2019

England keep their foot down, Pakistan battle to keep up

ESPNCricInfo
19 May 2019, 04:42 GMT+10

Pakistan LLLLL

In the spotlight

Few of England's players know as much about fulfilling great expectations as Joe Root. The one concession to reliability over rock'n'roll in England's batting order, Root pootles along at No.3 averaging 50 and scoring a century roughly every nine innings. A run of white-ball scores against Ireland and Pakistan comprising 7, 47, 40, 43, and 36 will be of concern to no one within the England set-up but the man himself would surely love to crack on for the big innings that takes him into the World Cup with a bounce.

After a tough audition process, Pakistan's pace bowlers may all be feeling a little nervy in the face of the World Cup guillotine. Mohammad Hasnain gave glimpses of his potential in an otherwise expensive outing at Trent Bridge, while Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have managed six wickets between them, with economy rates between 7.01 and 8.15. With Mohammad Amir unscathed thanks to his bout of chicken pox - though currently outside the preliminary squad looking in - and only one match to go, natural selection may be about to take its course.

Team news

Trevor Bayliss has said England will play their strongest team, which would mean Bairstow and Morgan returning, although the bowlers' workloads will be monitored. Tom Curran's performance with bat and ball could encourage further rest for Chris Woakes, while Jofra Archer and Mark Wood will hope to continue in their newly minted 90mph new-ball partnership. Roy's young daughter is improving after being taken to hospital on Friday morning but the opener is unlikely to play* meaning another opportunity for James Vince.

England: (possible) 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk) 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Tom Curran/Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 11 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood.

Imam-ul-Haq was forced off the field after being hit on the elbow at Trent Bridge, although he did come back to bat at the end of Pakistan's innings. Sarfaraz described the injury as a "bit of a bruise", although back-up opener Abid Ali is waiting for some game time if there are any concerns about Imam. Amir's status after illness is less clear, and he could perhaps be forgiven for wanting to stay out of the firing line.

Pakistan: (possible) 1 Imam-ul-Haq/Abid Ali, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt/wk), 6 Mohammad Hafeez, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Mohammad Hasnain, 11 Junaid Khan.

Pitch and conditions

Headingley generally loses some of its capricious edge for white-ball games, although India's powerful line-up struggled to 256 for 8 there last year only for England to knock them off two down. In this season's Royal London Cup, it is behind only Trent Bridge as the fastest-scoring ground, with runs coming at 6.81 an over. The forecast is for a cloudy day with minimal chance of rain and mild temperatures.

Stats and triviaQuotes

"You've got to find a way to win and we're going to have situations where we play poorly during a phase of the game. We've managed to come out the other end of that and win."

Jos Buttler on England's test at Trent Bridge

"The way we've fielded here in three matches is not up to the mark. We have to improve."

Sarfaraz Ahmed laments another sloppy performance

*1900 BST - Story updated with news on Roy's availability

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