England turn to Saqlain Mushtaq to help solve Pakistan spin problem

Henrietta Brewer
July 22, 2016

Alastair Cook is urging England to move on from a "messy affair" at Lord's, as they seek to level the Investec series. England's subsequent defeat increased the attention on Anderson's omission.

Meanwhile, England head selector James Whitaker is ready to clarify the role of his panel next week when he names the squad for the Third Test. Whitaker and fellow selectors Angus Fraser and Mick Newell were criticised for leaving Jimmy Anderson out for the First Test at Lord's, even though the paceman had declared himself fit to play. Cook said the Yorkshireman was making encouraging progress, having starred in England's recent one-day series win at home to Sri Lanka.

Following the displeasure emanating from the England camp, Pakistan skipper Misbah ul Haq has reiterated that their push-up based celebrations were not intended for the home side.

Spinner Adil Rashid remains in the squad and a decision will be made on Friday if he will replace Moeen Ali or if England will go with two spinners in Manchester.

With Ben Stokes coming in for Steve Finn (Jimmy Anderson replaces Jake Ball) Chris Woakes, with nine first class centuries under his belt, can not get any higher than No 9.

Ali took just two wickets during a 75-run defeat by Pakistan in the first of a four-Test series at Lord's last week.

"The selectors didn't think he was fit enough", said Cook. "We've got to believe they can deliver, that's the only way".

He has clarified several times that a majority vote determined the conservative call. "It's been a bit of a sideshow, an unimportant sideshow".

"Generally speaking, Yasir will have a major effect in any game of cricket".

"People then started jumping on things that weren't important and only seemed important because we lost the game".

'I wouldn't have said no, ' said Stokes when asked if, as Bayliss wanted, he would have liked to be considered as a specialist batsman in the first Test while completing his recovery from surgery.

"So he was left out of the squad".

He is the fulcrum of Pakistan's attack, allowing them to operate with four frontline bowlers.

Woakes was again brilliant in Pakistan's second innings, taking another huge wicket haul to take his total to 11 for the match, but his efforts were in vain as Pakistan's 215 all out meant England would have to score one of the highest run-chase total's at Lord's to win.

"But if he'd bowled thirty overs, hurt a shoulder and been ruled out of the game, we'd all be here disappointed with the decision". In hindsight he could have played that game, because he went and played two days for Lancashire against Durham and got through.

While there are many reasons for Pakistan to be a content, confident side going into the second Test they may want to look with caution at the example of India in 2014 when they won at Lord's only to fold in the following three Tests.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker will come into a team with a point to prove, and a deadline to do so.

"When he bowls bad balls you have to cash in and he is obviously the linchpin of their bowling attack".

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