- England came into the series having comfortably beaten Sri Lanka earlier in the summer, while Pakistan had not played any Test cricket in 2016, but the tourists won by 75 runs.
- Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was the chief destroyer for Pakistan at Lord’s after taking ten wickets in the match, while left-arm seamers Rahat Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz all played their part. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq also scored a crucial century in the first innings.
- Chris Woakes was undoubtedly England’s best performer in the first Test, claiming 11 wickets and batting doggedly. Alastair Cook was the only England batsman to score a half-century, hitting 81 in the first innings.
If England were under any illusions as to the size of the task facing them before the series began, they will now know that they have to be at their best to overturn the deficit. The good news for England is that James Anderson and Ben Stokes are now both back in the squad after proving their fitness and their presence should strengthen the team significantly. The bad news is that Yasir Shah could be even more effective on an Old Trafford pitch that is expected to be conducive for spin bowling, while Amir is also likely to be far more relaxed after a nervy performance at Lord’s.
England certainly contributed to their own downfall in the first Test with a string of poorly-judged shots and can be expected to come back strongly, but given Pakistan’s excellent performance at Lord’s and the likely conditions at Old Trafford, it is hard to make a case for backing England to win at odds of around Evens, so it may be wiser to see who wins the toss before betting on the outcome and instead focus on some of the other markets.
Yasir still looks good value to be Pakistan’s top bowler even though he is the 2/1 favourite, while Joe Root could be the man to back as England’s top batter. Having been promoted to No.3 in the last Test, the Yorkshireman looked in sublime form in the first innings before falling for 48. He is far more adept at playing Yasir than most of his team-mates and will be hungry for runs after failing to score an international century so far this summer.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Joe Root to be top England batsman - 11/4
*Please note, odds may fluctuate