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A better pitch than Rawalpindi loading? Babar Azam and Co. hope so!

Ramiz Raja

Cricket News

A better pitch than Rawalpindi loading? Babar Azam and Co. hope so!

Pakistan hopes to get a better pitch in the second test against England at the Multan Cricket Ground. England won the toss and elected to bat first and fully use it and win the first test by 74 runs on Monday which was played at Rawalpindi. Multan, however, despite not hosting a Test match for 16 years, could provide more spin if recent domestic matches are anything to go by.

Rawalpindi conceded 1,768 runs in four innings – the third most in Test history with seven individual centuries and five 50s. But Multan helped the spinners in the last first-class match, with former Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah taking five wickets in both innings. 

We’re going to play to win every game: Ben Stokes

Zahid Mahmood, the leg spinner conceded 319 runs for his six wickets in the whole match. Mohammad Nawaz and the uncapped Abrar Ahmed are looking for their spot in the team. Fast bowler Hasan Ali will likely replace the injured Haris Rauf, himself a replacement for star bowler Shaheen Afridi. 

England will also make an injury change, with wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes likely replacing debutant Liam Livingstone. Regardless of Multan’s pitch, England Test skipper Ben Stokes has promised no end to “Bazball”, the brand of aggressive cricket coined from the nickname of head coach Brendon McCullum.

“We’re going to play to win every game,” he said after Monday’s win — the seventh in eight Tests since the McCullum-Stokes partnership took over in May. It’s not always going to work, but if you’re brave enough and willing enough to go out and play in that way, if you lose a game, it’s still going to be entertaining,” said Ben Stokes quoted on NDTV Sports

The weather could also be a factor. Provincial authorities have issued a fog alert for the next few days, which could eat into playing time. 

In the first test match, Ollie Robinson was awarded the Man of the Match award for his brilliant performance with the ball in both innings of the first test.

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