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Lord’s Test: England win toss, elect to bat against Pakistan

LONDON: England have won the toss in first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s and elected to bat first.

England skipper Joe Root, after winning the toss, said: “It looks on the surface like slightly bowling conditions, but it looks slightly dry underneath and looks to be beginning to crack.” “A great moment for Dom to get his cap this morning, and Jos is approaching it as a debut as well.”

“We’ve gone with Wood … with the surface so dry, hopefully he can exploit the conditions later.”

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed admits he would have bowled first, so it’s a win-win. For Pakistan, Hasan Ali comes in for Rahat Ali, in an otherwise unchanged side from Malahide.

England: 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Mark Stoneman, 3 Joe Root (capt), 4 Dawid Malan, 5 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jos Buttler, 8 Mark Wood, 9 Dom Bess, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson

Pakistan: 1 Azhar Ali, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Haris Sohail, 4 Asad Shafiq, 5 Babar Azam, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Faheem Ashraf, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Mohammad Abbas.

England will be looking for some much-needed home comfort after recent winless Test tours of Australia and New Zealand extended their poor away record in cricket’s longest format to 13 matches without a victory.

Pakistan, by contrast, enter this two-match campaign on the back of a morale-boosting five-wicket win over Test debutants Ireland at Malahide last week.

England, in their first Test since Ed Smith became their new head selector, continue to have doubts over a batting order where captain Joe Root has been promoted to number three, wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow to five and Jos Buttler recalled at seven.

Two years ago, England were held to a 2-2 home draw by Pakistan in a four-Test series.

Since then veteran batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have both retired, with Pakistan hoping the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq can fill the void.

But it is Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has made three fifties from as many games this tour — including a match-clinching innings against Ireland.

 

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