In all fairness Pakistan should have won the Old Trafford test. It is only Pakistan that loses cricket matches in situation that prevailed till an hour after lunch on day four.
Chasing a victory target of 277 England was down to 117 for 5. Off course Buttler and Woakes batted brilliantly. But Pakistan lost few tricks. Captain Azhar Ali made few strategic mistakes. He under bowled Shahin Shah and Nasim . He did not attack Woakes at the early stage with bouncers. Wicket also surprisingly flattened. Any way that test is done and dusted. We are not sure when again Pakistan will loose after flooring the opposition.
Now we can preview the second test starting at Ageas Bowl Southampton from Thursday 13 August. Ben Stokes, the main stay of English Cricket for person will miss the remaining two tests for family priority. He will go to New Zealand. True Stokes failed with the bat in both innings. But the quality of player he is, would have produced quality innings any time. Pakistan would be greatly relieved. English batting at the top order looks thin. Burns, Sibley and Root looked helpless against pace and movement of Pakistan quality pacers. We are not sure Crawly would be right replacement for Stokes. England has drafted young pacer Robinson. But neither he nor Crawly can fill the void that Stokes would leave. Neither will be apple for apple replacement. England fielded poorly. Buttler dropped few chances. But he more than compensated batting exceedingly well in the second and winning the match for England.
Southampton wicket may not turn like Old Trafford. Pakistan should review their option also. Pakistan batting collapsed in the second innings. They cannot risk going with one batsman less in the second test. They can either include Imam Ul Haque at the top or Fahim Ashraf in late middle order. In either case Shdab Khan can be replaced. But Shadab played a bravely in the first Innings. Fahim Ashraf is a quality all rounder. Imam Ul Haq is a quality top order batsman. On a moving wicket against intelligent bowlers Azhar would struggle in the early part of his innings. Pakistan will need to bat well in both innings to win the match. They batted very poorly in the second Innings. Apart From Shan Masood, Babar Azam and Shadab others did nothing in the first Innings as well.
England: Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Roots, Pope, Buttler, Woakes, Bess, Robinson, Archer and Broad
Pakistan : Abid Ali, Shan Masood, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shain Shah Afridi and Nasim Shah.
BDST: 1236 HRS, AUG 10, 2020