England vs Pakistan: England take on spirited Pakistan, Mohammad Amir returns at Lord’shttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/england-take-on-spirited-pakistan-at-lords-2911812/

England vs Pakistan: England take on spirited Pakistan, Mohammad Amir returns at Lord’s

The opening match will set the rhythm for the entire Test series as England begins its campaign to edge past Pakistan in the ICC Test rankings.

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England will lock horns with Pakistan on Thursday at Lord’s in the opening Test match. (Source: Reuters)

Not everything went right for Pakistan when they last visited Lord’s back in 2010. Mohammad Amir had admitted to spot-fixing after he picked up 6/84 in the fourth Test at Lord’s which marked the end of a talented young bowler. But that was temporary.

Fast forward six years, and Amir is back at the Mecca of Cricket. The focus is right back on the fixing controversy with a section of the British media still sticking to calling him a “spot-fixer” despite serving out the time for the crime. On the pitch, he made a scintillating comeback on the English soil against Somerset in one of the practice matches.

Read | All eyes on Mohammad Amir as Pakistan return to Lord’s

AMIR RETURNS TO CRIME SCENE

Now everything is being centered around Amir’s comeback. And why not. His three-wicket haul and ability to swing the ball at the right pace still shows that his rhythm is on track. But Amir is not the only threat for the English batsmen. The Pakistan bowling line-up features Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan who look ready to produce some Chin music on the Lord’s pitch. The bowling rank will be supported by leggie Yasir Shah.

Bowling remains a strong point for the visiting team as Jamie Anderson’s injury may hurt England’s chances. Stuart Broad and Steven Finn will have to produce some magical spells to keep Pakistan’s sturdy batting line-up in check. Jake Ball will be looking forward to his debut in the upcoming clash.

Also Read | England vs Pakistan: Full fixtures, results, schedule, time and more

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Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq with fellow veteran Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq will hold key to Pakistan’s middle order as the opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood still remain a doubt.

England’s top-order has repeatedly failed to produce long standing partnerships as Alex Hales strives to match up to Alastair Cook’s performances in the Tests. England skipper Cook, who recently became the youngest cricketer to reach the 10,000 run mark, will look to continue with his robust form as the middle-order remains worry-free for now.

Jonny Bairstow has been impressive with his knocks, lately, who will be joined by Gary Ballance after he was dropped last year. Pakistan must do their homework to break through Joe Root’s defence in order to unsettle the solid middle-order build up.

The opening match will set the rhythm for the entire Test series as the fourth-placed team begins its campaign to edge past Pakistan (third) in the ICC Test rankings.