England demonstrated the same ruthlessness they have been known for in white-ball cricket in recent times. They might be coming in with plenty of big names missing, but that wouldn’t stand in their way as they brushed aside the hosts by six wickets.
But if there’s ever a good time to have an off day, it’s probably the first game of a seven-match series. There’s time enough for Pakistan to find a route back in, as well as fine-tune their game ahead of next month’s T20 World Cup.
And so, having broken the ice on Tuesday, Pakistan and England go again once more on Thursday, where the cricket rather than the occasion is expected to take centrestage. Karachi might have played nice on the opening day, but England might find it turns more tribal as Pakistan look to hit back.
Pakistan: LLLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
It remains unrelentingly humid in Karachi, meaning the reasons both sides ensured their fast bowlers sent down short spells might not have only been tactical. The pitch played surprisingly slow in the first game, but the second will be on a new surface.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan/Mohammad Haris (wk), 3 Haider Ali, 4 Shan Masood, 5 Iftikhar Ahmed, 6 Khushdil Shah/Asif Ali, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Shahnawaz Dahani/Mohammad Hasnain, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Usman Qadir
England: 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Duckett/Will Jacks, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali (capt), 7 Sam Curran, 8 David Willey/Reece Topley, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Luke Wood/Mark Wood, 11 Olly Stone
“It might look like the middle order has flopped, but they haven’t had the chance to play many innings because the top order bats so deep. We have full confidence in their ability to come through for us eventually.”
Mohammad Rizwan feels the criticism of Pakistan’s middle order is premature.
“It’s tough, but you’ve got to try and play on the front foot as much as possible. They’ve got some very fast bowlers so that’s hard when you see them bang it in but you get high reward for front-foot shots, especially if you get it through the infield.”
Harry Brook on the keys to success at Karachi’s National Stadium.