England v Pakistan
Saturday 10 July 11.00
TV: live on BT Sport
England are feeling very pleased with themselves after what can only be described as a third- or fourth-string thrashed Pakistan in the opening match of the series in Cardiff on Thursday.
Saqib Mahmood was the superstar, claiming four wickets. His potency certainly wouldn't have been a surprise to the Pakistan batsman considering the Lancashire man's brilliant performance in part one of the latest edition of the Pakistan Super League.
There were also big ticks with the ball for Lewis Gregory, Matt Parkinson and Craig Overton. All three can justifiably reckon they are banging on the door of the first-team. Parkinson's two for 28 was a particular cheer because England are hugely reliant on Adil Rashid.
We don't expect any changes for game two, although Phil Salt's ponderous start might tempt the selectors to give Will Jacks a go. Dawid Malan and Zak Crawley aced the chase of 142 with both enhancing their international reputation.
Possible XI Salt, Malan, Crawley, Vince, Stokes, Simpson, Gregory, C Overton, Carse, Mahmood, Parkinson
Pakistan must improve
Pakistan were at their abject worst. Is it any wonder that when they go odds-on we all hide behind the sofa?
Complacency, and lack of proper warm-up, were surely massive factors in the nine-wicket loss. They cannot get any worse.
Alas they have lost the services of Haris Sohail, who was a middle-order rock, with a hamstring tear. His place went to unproven Saud Shakeel. Sohaib Maqsood, brilliant in the PSL for Multan Sultans, also made it into the XI. The middle-order looks flaky indeed.
If Pakistan are smart they will not make any changes, recognising that the XI will be better for the run. If not, Faheem Ashraf and Haris Rauf could come under pressure from Usman Qadir and Mohammad Nawaz.
Possible XI Imam, Zaman, Babar, Rizwan, Shakeel, Maqsood, Shadab, Faheem, Hasan, Shaheen, Rauf
Here are the last 19 first-innings scores at Lord's (1/2 denotes game won by side batting first or second): 241-t/315-1/243-1/285-1/322-1/308-1/153-2/328-1/251-1/309-1/300-1/227-2/220-2/272-2/280-1/246-2/265-1/277-1/235-2.
As you can see there is a trend - the side batting first is going to have to at least post 280. You will also spot that nine of the last 11 have been won by the side batting first.
In the World Cup final, we had a slow, stodgy pitch which put England in the mire. If we get something similar, it should suit Pakistan. Although one suspects it was difficult to bat on because the square had hosted four matches in a short space of time.
The uncertainty about the surface might make an innings runs bet hard. Sportsbook go 8/11 and 12/5 that both teams score 250 and 275 respectively. The runs line may be pitched in the middle.
Forecast light showers until 15:00 suggest a stop-start affair and we could lose overs, but not a huge chunk. One suspects the shrewd move will be to go short on runs.
Risk the tourists
England are 1.794/5 with Pakistan 2.226/5. That is some turnaround from before game one when England were expected to be well-beaten.
Instead the late call-ups gave the proper England team some cheer in isolation. The aftermath, on social media at least, has been rather tiresome with the fanboys raving about England's strength in depth with the white ball.
We're not convinced that's the reason. As we said, Pakistan were undercooked and probably thought it'd be easy. They should be more focused this time. We'll keep the toss on side and back them to level the series.
Malan has been price-boosted by Sportsbook for another top bat win to 10/3. Jacks gets a 5/1 quote. If he plays he opens. If he doesn't it's money back. Ben Stokes remains vastly underrated at 5/1. Mahmood is 11/4 jolly for another top bowler win.
For Pakistan, Babar Azam has been price boosted to 13/5. He recorded a duck in game one and will surely stamp his class on affairs at some stage Just in case we've called Pakistan's improvement totally wrong, we note Shadab Khan at 18/1 and Faheem at 33s.