This game couldn’t be more fascinatingly poised. Pakistan are approaching a lead of 300 and the pitch is beginning to turn a little. Personally, I think the visitors probably have enough runs already. But there is a glimmer of hope for England: the pitch is dying and edges are frequently dropping short of the slips. That means is won’t be straightforward for the seamers.
The obvious point is that Joe Root and Alastair Cook will probably decide the outcome of this game (from England’s point of view). If the big two go early then Pakistan are likely to win with something to spare. But if England’s best players dig in then anything is possible.
Personally I have an inkling that Cook might make a big score. This wicket isn’t your typical English wicket. It’s almost subcontinental in nature. It’s slow, dry and fairly low – just the kind of conditions the skipper loves. And if Amir does get him to edge a couple behind, there’s a good chance the ball won’t carry – especially once the ball goes soft.
The problem, of course, is that Yasir Shah is rather good. Pakistan’s other bowlers aren’t bad either. Can Alex Hales, James Vince and Garry Balance score the necessary runs to keep England in the hunt? Maybe tomorrow will be the making of them. Or maybe it will be another nail in their respective international coffins.
One player who has performed admirably, whatever the result, is Chris Woakes. He was England’s best bowler again by far today and single-handedly kept us in the hunt. He bowled some beautiful deliveries (the ball that got Shafiq was a beauty) at just the right time. Without him I suspect the lead would already be unmanageable. He thoroughly deserved his ten-for.
Those who have tickets for Lord’s tomorrow are going to be in for a treat. The game is set up beautifully and a win for either side wouldn’t surprise me. Unfortunately though, my money is on Pakistan. I predicted they’d give us one hell of a game at Lord’s and it gives me no pleasure to be proven right (for once)!
The tragedy from my perspective, however, is that I won’t be at Lord’s and I won’t be watching on TV either. Due to a rather unfortunate clash, I’ll be occupied elsewhere. In fact, I might be tied up for the next few days. Talk about crap timing.
You guys might have to tell me exactly what happens in the comments below. Cheers! Perhaps the great Bishan Bedi, who retweeted yesterday’s report, might drop in and give us some expert analysis? If you’re reading Bishan … :-)