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England vs Pakistan 2020, 2nd Test, Southampton Preview: Pak Look to Capitalise on Ben Stokes Absence

Pakistan cricket team celebrate the fall of an England wicket (Image: AP)

Pakistan cricket team celebrate the fall of an England wicket (Image: AP)

England vs Pakistan, 2nd Test Match Preview | Pakistan Look to Capitalise on Ben Stokes Absence

England vs Pakistan 2020, 2nd Test Preview:

England will look to seal back-to-back series wins when they take on Pakistan in the second Test of the ongoing three-match series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton starting Thursday.

The hosts lead the series 1-0 following their thrilling three-wicket win in the first Test in Manchester. England were chasing 277 on the final day and slumped to 117 for 5 before Chris Woakes (84*) and Jos Buttler (75) made victory possible with a century stand. Pakistan were in the driver’s seat for a large part of the game but losing crucial phases cost them the entire game.

ALSO READ: Michael Atherton Defends Pakistan Skipper Azhar Ali Ahead of 2nd Test


Despite the loss, they will still believe they have it in them to bounce back given their decent record in England in recent tours, and their fight in the first Test.

For England, the one concern will be the absence of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has flown to New Zealand for family reasons. Although, he didn’t have the best of games in Manchester, England will miss him given he was beginning to return to bowling as well.

Stokes led England the last time they played in Southampton, in the first Test against West Indies. His absence now puts the onus on other players to step up, both with bat and ball.

Pakistan might well go into the game without changing their side, showing confidence in the young squad that played the first game. Coach Misbah-ul-Haq pointed to panic in the young bowling unit in the fourth innings in Manchester, and will hope they’d have learnt.

WHAT: England vs Pakistan 2nd Test

WHEN: August 13 - 17, 3.30 pm IST

WHERE:  Ageas Bowl, Southampton

TELECAST: Sony Network


England Team News

Stokes’ absence means James Anderson might get another crack in the series. Nasser Hussain had called for Chris Woakes to play ahead of Anderson but now that Stokes is out, Anderson should get another crack. Anderson recently had to dismiss retirement rumours following an indifferent outing in the first Test.


“It’s been a frustrating week for me personally," Anderson told reporters via videoconference. “I’ve not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm. For the first time in probably 10 years I got a little bit emotional on the field.

“I got a bit frustrated and let it get to me a little bit. It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry, you try and bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn’t help," he added.

Possible playing XI

Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Dom Bess, James Anderson.

Pakistan Team news

Pakistan could consider bringing pacer Sohail Khan, but Shadab Khan’s value with the bat could help him hold on to his position. It won’t be a surprise if Pakistan go unchanged.

Possible playing XI

Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas.


“He is probably the best cricketer in the world at the moment, a game changer, and even if he does miss out with bat or ball, his aura on the pitch or slip catching still influences games" - Ollie Pope on Ben Stokes

“It’s easy to curse yourself when you’ve lost. But, we should remember that we were right on top until pretty much the last session of the game. We will do our best to come back in this series, which I really believe this team is capable of doing" - Misbah


England: Joe Root (C), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (C), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam ul haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.