- Pakistan edged the first Test by 75 runs following a thrilling four days of cricket at Lord’s, before England bounced back in ruthless fashion to claim a thumping 330-run victory at Old Trafford.
- Joe Root was the man of the match at Old Trafford with a scintillating 254 in the first innings. Chris Woakes has been England’s standout performer with the ball so far in the series, taking 18 wickets at an average of 11.66.
- Captain Misbah-ul-Haq has been the only Pakistan player to score a century in the opening two Tests. Yasir Shah is the tourists’ leading wicket-taker on 11, but after demolishing England with combined figures of 10/141 at Lord’s, he was alarmingly ineffective in the next match.
It has been a topsy-turvy series so far but England were so dominant at Old Trafford that it would be a surprise to see them slip back to their bad old ways, even if they will be without the injured Ben Stokes, and the batting line-up still appears to be overly reliant on Root and Cook. For Pakistan to have any chance they will need to dismiss those two early on, and Mohammad Amir will feel he is due some luck after bowling well in the last game with little reward.
The toss could also be crucial, as both matches so far have been won by the team batting first. Pakistan will certainly have to show much greater application at the crease and find a way to combat the increasingly potent Woakes. The Warwickshire all-rounder has enjoyed a breakthrough series, contributing with bat and ball, and looks good value to pick up his first man-of-the-match award at odds of 10/1.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Chris Woakes to be man of the match: 10/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.