A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

Pakistan vs England, First Test, Dubai: Preview

Posted on January 16, 2012 by in Tests


Put away your Dan Brown books and boxset of Oh, Doctor Beeching!, for England are back in Test action for the first time since last August. Series against Pakistan are often peppered with action and controversy in equal measure (much like Oh, Doctor Beeching!) and though much of the bad feeling between the two teams has dissipated since the infamous tour of 2010, both will be keen to continue recent excellent form. England are the current world number one team in Test matches, but were defeated by Pakistan in 2001 (featuring Ian Ward) and 2005 (featuring Liam Plunkett) so cannot afford to rest on their laurels.


It's political satire, really

The home team

Well, this should be “home” team given that we’re playing in Dubai rather than Multan, but there’s little to no chance of the gin-addled residents of 51allout remembering to put inverted commas around the sub-heading each time. So start as you mean to go on. Misbah Ul-Haq’s team have prospered since their enforced exile, remaining undefeated in this part of the world, though victories have been the exception rather than the rule. With that in mind, and with Misbah being as set in his ways as much as we steadfastly listen to Level 42 rather than this modern rooobish, Pakistan will retain the same formula that has served them well over the last 18 months; two seamers, two spinners, and some part-time filth/beguiling spin from Mohammad Hafeez. The trademark of 2010 (other than the obvious) was bizarre batting collapses but the more docile conditions should prevent this, barring some Brad Haddin-style rushes of blood to the head.

The away team

Firstly, welcome back, Squire Strauss, we’ve missed you. Tradition prevails with injury scares to messrs Bell, Broad and Swann ahead of the game, and Bresnan already flying home, but the balance of the side should remain familiar; a four man attack and a long batting line-up. Some of us would argue that Monty Panesar will be unlucky to miss out behind the underwhelming Eoin Morgan, but ultimately for now it’s an argument which falls on deaf ears as far as the two Andys are concerned. The main debate is whether Steven Finn or Chris Tremlett will replace the elbow-knacked Bresnan. Our hunch is that it’ll be the Middlesex man rather than the Surrey hunk.

The pitch

These are unfamiliar conditions for us, like waking up on a Sunday morning with a clear head and being full of the joys of spring. Recent evidence suggests that some havoc can be wreaked with the new ball but afterwards things calm down and flatten out. Therefore expect long attritional spells from Swann for England and the Ajmal/Rehman pairing for Pakistan, and runs aplenty. It won’t rain.

Baby Baby!


To follow, in their own dedicated article. Because you’re worth it.

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