Pakistan decided to bat against England
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Pakistan won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat in the second Test in Dubai. It meant that Ben Stokes, deemed “not quite 100% fit but a true character” by his captain Alastair Cook would have no respite in the dressing room as he recovered from the last vestiges of an upset stomach.
England were unchanged, while Pakistan brought in the legspinner Yasir Shah for Rahat Ali, resisting the temptation on a surface expected to be conducive to turn to add the offspinner Bilal Asif as well. “If we see the previous records it’s really helpful for the spinners,” Misbah-ul-Haq, their captain, said. “We thought of bringing in Asif but we have three different varieties of spinner and we will stick to that.
There was no extra spinner for England either as they hoped the shadow cast by the main stand would help their seamers early on and fretted not just over Stokes but over Mark Wood’s vulnerability over his career whenever asked to undertake a heavy workload.
Three years ago, England chose to bat on the first morning in Dubai and found themselves 52 for 5 at lunch. It set the tone for their defeat in the series, although in the second of the two games on the ground Pakistan were 53 for 7 at the first interval.
Their ambition was to inflict similar suffering on Pakistan this time. Since then, Pakistan’s form in Dubai has been patchy, with defeats to South Africa and Sri Lanka and a draw with New Zealand either side of a convincing win over Australia.
England 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Moeen Ali, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Mark Wood, 11 James Anderson
Pakistan 1 Shan Masood, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Shoaib Malik, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Zulfiqar Babar, 10 Yasir Shah, 11 Imran Khan
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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