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2006. Yes, Multan last hosted a Test a massive 16 years ago. Overall, the venue has hosted five Tests out of which only one ended in a draw. Multan is set to play hosts to the second Test between Pakistan and England starting from December 9. With the home team 0-1 down in the three-match series and all the talk around the surface that was on offer in Rawalpindi, all eyes will be on the pitch on the first morning.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja’s ‘I have not been able to crack the code for Test match pitch’ comment has created a stir in the cricketing fraternity as well. However, keeping all of that debate aside, Babar Azam and his men will have to concentrate on what they can control in the must-win second Test match in Multan. Their chances of making it to the WTC final are hanging by a thread and anything less than a win would end their hopes.
The first challenge for Pakistan would be to keep the England batters who are hell-bent on sticking to their aggressive approach with the bat. They scored more than six runs per over in both their innings to render Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack clueless. It seemed as if there was no plan at all and better strategies will be required to keep the run-scoring in check.
There is only one way this England side will play is what the coach and captain believe. But what if they hit a road block? What will be their response if it happens? Ben Stokes and his team will be tested on that front only if Pakistan’s bowlers respond strongly in the Multan Test.
Pitch and Conditions
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam confirmed at the press conference that the surface in Multan is dry and the spinners will get assistance. It remains to be seen though if it will be rank turner. The team winning the toss will undoubtedly opt to bat first.
As for the conditions, the sun will be out on all five days of the Test and if dry, the surface will only deteriorate as the game progresses.
Probable Playing XIs for PAK vs ENG 2nd Test
Pakistan have already lost Haris Rauf for the rest of the series and given that the pitch is dry, they might opt for an extra spinner in Abrar Ahmed or Nauman Ali. The rest of the team is unlikely to be changed.
Probable XI: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (C), Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Agha Salman, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Nauman Ali/Abrar Ahmed.
Mark Wood has been declared fit for this Test and he slots straight back into the playing XI. He will replace Liam Livingstone who got injured and ruled out of the Test series in the first game. However, a fit again Ben Foakes will once again warm the bench with the visitors banking on Ollie Pope as the wicketkeeper. The decision could backfire on a turning pitch with Pope not being a specialist at the role like Foakes.
Probable XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (WK), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (C), Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, James Anderson
PAK vs ENG Head to Head in Tests
Played – 87| Pakistan – 21 | England – 27 | Draw – 39
PAK vs ENG Broadcast Details
TV – Sony Sports Network
Live Streaming – Sony LIV