England v Pakistan: third test, first day – live! | sport

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These named teams




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Joe Root won the draw, England are at bat first

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Preamble

Six tests in seven weeks. Saying that, it hasn’t been such a bad way to spend the second half of the strangest summer at all. And back in Southampton, today we are for England’s third and final installment against Pakistan. The hosts lead the series to a draw after their impressive comeback effort from behind to Manchester for the first time. The less said about last week’s soggy print, the better.

The good news on this front is that it’s not raining. The predictions are presumably sketchy, but there is no obvious reason why the game will not start at 11 a.m. as expected (famous last words). When the captains come out to throw in about half an hour, all eyes will be on how England set up their bowling roster. Considering this is a new pitch, which has been largely prepared under cover, could they play four quicks?

As for Pakistan, their captain, Azhar Ali, is going to dance with whoever took him regarding Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. Based on the available evidence, there is no need for them to change anything regarding this explosive young pair. Oh, and Mohammad Abbas? These could be the best conditions the average probe feeler ever plays under. The bowl first? Very probably.

Well, we’ve got plenty to do, as always on the first morning, so drop me a line at the usual spot, or on Twitter if that’s more your style. G’morning!

Strong sun – give us some, please.



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