England host Pakistan in the first Investec test match at Lords, London on 14 July (Thursday). This is the first test in the four-match series.
Where to watch live
Match starts at 11am BST. Live TV coverage is available on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD. Click here for the live streaming link.
The eagerly awaited series between England and Pakistan finally starts on 14 July at Lords. The hosts had a brilliant start to their summer, whitewashing Sri Lanka 3-0 at home in a series that showed the difference in talent and confidence level between the two sides.
England come into this series in high spirits. Their recent exploits in all three forms of the game have shown the world how much they have improved over time. Skipper Alastair Cook leads a team who know their job and do it efficiently.
However, there are a few concerns for the Three Lions going into the first match. They will be without leading wicket-taker James Anderson who suffered an injury against Sri Lanka while their middle order does not look settled. Gary Ballance has been recalled in place of Nick Compton who was dropped while James Vince hasn't yet settled into his role in test cricket.
It will be interesting to see how Ballance copes with the Pakistani pacers, considering he was dropped not too long ago as his technique was found wanting. Pacer Toby Roland-Jones and Jake Ball have been called up to the squad and will fight for the final fast bowler spot.
England will also be without Jos Buttler who injured his thumb during a county game which means Jonny Bairstow dons the keeper's gloves again. Despite criticism, Bairstow did have a productive series both with the bat and the gloves and England will be hoping for a repeat against an unpredictable Pakistan side.
In Cook, Joe Root and Stuart Broad, the hosts have players who are experienced and will be key for them.
The visitors Pakistan and in particular pace-bowler Mohammad Amir returns to the venue where one of the biggest controversies in cricket took place. It was in Lords in 2010 that Amir along with fellow pacer Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled no-balls for money, in a scandal that rocked cricket. The duo along with then captain Salman Butt, were found guilty by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal on 5 February, 2011 which led to their suspension for five years.
The Pakistan team is vastly different from the one seen six years ago. Led by Misbah-ul-Haq, the Men in Green have in Younis Khan, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq batsmen who are capable of playing for long periods. The bowling attack looks promising with Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and spinner Yasir Shah in their ranks.
The importance of this tour for the visitors can be seen in their preparations. The team had two training camps in Pakistan and played two tour games in England ahead of the first test. Their new South African coach Mickey Arthur will be hoping for a victorious start to his tenure, and if they perform to their potential, England are in for a tough series.
England to win
Betting Odds (betfair)
- England to win: 4/5
- Draw: 5/2
- Pakistan to win:3
Squad: Alastair Cook (c), Alex Hales, Joe Root, Gary Balance, James Vince, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Toby Roland-Jones, Steve Finn, Jake Ball.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Ifthikar Ahmed, Imran Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Rahat Ali, Sami Islam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar.