The 2nd test was sabotaged by the rains and as expected it ended in the draw. England is now leading the series by 1 – 0. In the decider Test match, Pakistan will aim at winning the match to level the series. Pakistan skipper, Azhar Ali, needs to perform well in the last match. He has scored only 38 runs in the previous 2 matches.
The chances of winning the series for Pakistan are gone now. It could have been different had it not been for the poor sessions at the Old Trafford and the rain-marred 2nd Test match. Mohammad Rizwan’s knock was a bonus and Pakistan’s bowling attack has also performed with a boost in their confidence in the second match. If the rains disrupt this gameplay as well, will they be able to do what they did in 2016 and 2018 games to draw the series?
England may not make any changes in the playing XI as all the players did their best in the little action that took place in the 2nd Test. In case England decides to make some changes in the team, Jofra Archer might replace Sam Curran. Pakistan might play Shadab Khan in the last game. He will assist Yasir Shah and he is good with the bat too, as he showed in Manchester.
Ben Stokes, who missed the 2nd test, will not be available for the final Test as well. Zak Crawley, who replaced Stokes in the second Test, is expected to retain his place after a half-century on Monday.
The host will seek to maintain their unbeaten record at home, whereas the visitors need to win the match to avoid the series defeat.
Fantasy cricket team prediction:
Mohammad Rizwan, the player of the match, scored 72 runs which gave some encouraging signs to the Pakistan team.
Jos Buttler got to bat 13 balls only in the 2nd Test. But his batting form has been encouraging in the last few matches, not to forget his excellent knock of 75 in the first Test. He has 220 runs in the last five tests.
In the absence of Ben Stokes, Joe Root is back at his usual position, i.e. 4th. His batting record at 4th is better than batting at 3rd. Also, he has a strong record against Pakistan.
Zak Crawley replaced Ben Stokes in the playing XI and might play in the last Test match as well, considering his fifty in the second match.
Stuart Broad has taken 26 wickets (4 wickets in 2nd Test) in 7 innings since being left out. James Anderson cleared the rumours of his retirement in the beginning of the series and managed to perform well since then. He took 3 wickets in the 2nd Test and 1 wicket in the 1st Test.
Sam Curran replaced Jofra Archer in the second match and took 1 wicket. Ollie Pope has batted well in the recent matches, especially when England is under pressure. He scored 62 runs off 117 balls in the first innings.
Dom Sibley has scored 32 runs. Spotlight will be on the Rory Burns and Dom Sibley duo as their opening average partnership is 30.25. Rory Burns has not been able to deliver a satisfactory performance yet. He has scored just 14 runs in three knocks in this series, and Sibley continues to struggle with balls down the legside.
Shan Masood scored 0 and 1 in the recent innings after he played an exceptional knock of 156 in the first Test match. Can he deliver a better performance in this match?
Babar Azam has proved to be a key player in the series so far. He has scored some tough runs (121 runs in 3 knocks) where bowlers have dominated the series.
Yasir Shah took 9 wickets in the last 2 Test matches (8 wickets in the 1st Test and 1 wicket in the 2nd Test). Mohammed Abbas delivered a good spell in this match as well and took 2 wickets. He has taken 5 wickets in the last 2 Test matches. Shaheen Afridi has taken 3 wickets (2 in the 1st match and 1 in the 2nd match) in the previous 2 Test matches.
The Pakistan team needs a better performance from their skipper, Azhar Ali. He was duck out in the first innings ,scored only 18 runs and 20 runs in the first and second innings, respectively. His performance in the recent matches, especially away from Asia, has been poor. He has scored just 212 runs in 18 innings.
Pitch Report and weather prediction:
The pitch at the Rose bowl has favored the bowlers in the last two games played on this ground. Both England and Pakistan enjoyed bowling at Southampton in the last game.
Like the 2nd Test match, rains are expected to disturb the gameplay of 3rd Test as well. The weather forecast suggests that rains will spoil the game on all days but rainfall on the 2nd and 4th day of the Test match will not be as heavy as the other 3 days of the Test match.
1st Test match result – England won by 3 wickets
2nd Test match result – Draw
Top Scorer(s) –
Mohammad Rizwan (PAK) – 72 runs
Abid Ali (PAK) – 60 runs
Zak Crawley (ENG) – 53 runs
Top Wicket-taker(s) –
Stuart Broad (ENG) – 4 wickets
James Anderson (ENG) – 3 wickets
Mohammad Abbas (PAK) – 2 wickets
The average first innings score in Tests at Southampton is 285.8.
Captain Picks: Stuart Broad (BWL) (ENG), Yasir Shah (BWL) (PAK), Chris Woakes (BWL) (ENG) and Jos Buttler (BAT) (ENG) OR Shan Masood (BAT) (PAK)
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