Pakistan and England face off in the third test match which begins on Sunday 1st of November.
Pakistan having won the first test match are in the driver’s seat and the onus will be on England to amp it up and take initiative come the final test match. It is likely that Pakistan’s ace number three batsman Azhar Ali will make a comeback which means Shan Masood might well be left out due to his lackluster performance in the first two matches. Shan has scored just 58 runs in four innings and failed to get past Anderson as the English bowler got him in all four innings. It is unlikely that Pakistan will make any other change in the side for the test match in Sharjah.
England on the other hand are set to remove the out of form Jos Buttler from the side which would mean that Yorkshire player Jonny Bairstow would take up wicket keeping duties. English coach Bayliss said that (quote via ESPNcricinfo)
“It’s no secret that he has obviously been struggling a little bit”
Fast bowler Mark Wood will not be able to participate in the third test match as well as Pakistan Imran Khan as both of them have suffered from an injury before the match. The ousted bowlers have has left both camps to rethink their strategies and come up with something different. Pakistan are likely to include Rahat Ali while England could go for Liam Plunkeet or Chris Jordan to cover up for Wood.
Buttler has failed to get a good score under his belt for quite a long time and his average in 2015 is just 23.88. By dropping Buttler England have the opportunity to slot in another batsman into their side which is likely to be James Taylor who has been knocking on the door for quite a while. Although James has played a couple of matches against the West Indies but was he not able to grab that opportunity with both hands. If he plays this match, it will be a big chance for him to impress the selectors by scoring runs in challenging conditions and against a very good bowling attack.
Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik needs 140 runs to complete his 2000 runs in test matches. He would be looking to complete these runs in the third test match as he has not scored many after his double century in the first innings in the first test match.
Wicket keeper Sarfraz Ahmed needs 6 more catches to complete 50 catches in test match and the third test match might well help him get there.
World’s number batsman Joe Root and English captain Cook are separated by just 33 runs on the list of most runs in test matches played in 2015 and are 1 and 2 respectively. It will be interesting to see who ends on top after the series ends.
Meanwhile on the list of most wickets taken in 2015, Broad is on top with 46 wickets but Yasir Shah is quickly catching up with him as he is on 42 and Jimmy Anderson is also following closely with 40 wickets to his name. Yasir Shah will have a great opportunity of moving towards the top considering the difficulty he poses for English batsman.
This test match is of great importance to both teams in terms of ranking. If Pakistan wins the series 2-0 they will jump to second spot. On the other hand a loss would mean that Pakistan will have to be content with the fourth spot. England has to win this test match to save their number three spot because loosing it will see them drop to number 6 in the ICC rankings.
Finally the first two test matches have been very exciting and have gone down to the wire which is why it is expected that the lest test match will have the same impact and will be worth watching.