AkasnhLAST UPDATED: Aug. 4, 2020, 2:54 p.m.
Manchester: Pakistan will return to international cricket after almost 7 months when they take on England in the first match of the three-Test series at the Emirates Old Trafford here on Wednesday.
Pakistan had last played Test cricket back in February when they defeated Bangladesh in Rawalpindi. The other two Tests of that series had been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.
International cricket had resumed after the coronavirus induced pause when England hosted a three-match Test series against the West Indies. The English team had clinched the series 2-1.
England will look to seal another series victory after a thrilling series win over West Indies. The English side will be hoping to continue in the same vein of form that they have enjoyed during the series against the West Indies.
Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad will be the key players for the English side. For Pakistan, fitness is expected to be a major drawback as most of the players are returning to the side after being cured of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
To win a Test series in England has always been one of the toughest challenges in world cricket.
Since 2010 England has lost just twice at home. Only South Africa in 2012 and against Sri Lanka in 2014 have managed to pull off the feat.
Two of Pakistan's last three attempts have ended in draws - 2-2 in 2016 and 1-1 in 2018. Pakistan also has the highest winning percentage in England after South Africa in the last 10 years.
The last time Pakistan won a Test series in England was in 1996 and during that time they had also completed a hat-trick of series wins on English soil. They had won in 1987 and 1992 as well. Since then they have lost two series in England while three have ended in draws.
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (c), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail/Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas
England: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson