Pakistan will be looking to carry on their winning form in UAE
Pakistan will be looking to carry on their winning form in UAE

The second Test between Pakistan and England will begin on October 22, 2015 in Dubai, UAE. Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq will be Pakistan’s key players to watch out for in this Test. The first Test of the series, played at Abu Dhabi, was drawn despite a freakish collapse by Pakistan against debutant leg-spinner Adil Rashid in the final session.  England were on track before the light gave in. No team is a clear favourite going into the second Test. However, the side that keeps batting momentum going from the last Test and displays a better bowling performance this time around has a better chance at winning. LIVE SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England 2015, 1st Test at Dubai.

Top-order: Pakistan will bank on Mohammad Hafeez to give them a solid start in the second Test. Shan Masood failed at Abu Dhabi, scoring 3 from 2 innings. However, Misbah-ul-Haq may think of giving Masood another chance (given the gumption he showed in Sri Lanka), but it is possible that he will chose Ahmed Shehzad over him. Shehzad’s overall Test record is much better than Masood’s. He was also found wanting against good swing bowling. He was bowled by James Anderson both times.

Younis Khan’s performance was mediocre in the last Test: he got starts in both innings but was not able to convert them into big scores. He scored 38 and 45 in the Test. However, he went past Javed Miandad’s record of 8,832 Test runs for Pakistan. Misbah failed in the first innings (though the dismissal was not without controversy) but showed resilience in the second with a half-century. All eyes will be on him whether he succeeds in making a hundred in this Test and hence fulfilling his wish of ending his career on a high.

Middle-order: Shoaib Malik made a brilliant 245 at Abu Dhabi, and should be a no-brainer for the side. He also chipped in with 4 wickets, and may prove to be a handy third spinner. Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed are expected to bat at Nos. 6 and 7 respectively.

Bowling: Yasir Shah, who did not play the last Test owing to back injury, will make a comeback, and is the most talked-about name before the Test. Zulfiqar Babar did not bowl well in the last Test, but knowing how well he bowls in tandem with Yasir, he may get another break. Wahab Riaz will spearhead the attack. Rahat Ali and Imran Khan will fight for the second fast bowler’s slot, though Junaid Khan may also get a nod.

Pakistan likely team: Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood / Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Zulfiqar Babar, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Imran Khan / Rahat Ali / Junaid Khan.

(Bhaskar Narayan is a reporter at CricketCountry and Criclife. He passionately follows the game and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. His Twitter handle is @Cricopathy)