Stuart Broad will lead England's bowling against Pakistan who also have potent bowlers in first Test at Lord's    Getty Images
Stuart Broad will lead England’s bowling against Pakistan who also have potent bowlers in first Test at Lord’s Getty Images

The keenly awaited Test series between England and Pakistan starts July 14. Seldom has any Test series been anticipated for so eagerly, since both teams have had excellent record in the longer formats in recent past. Pakistan are ranked No. 3, whereas England are placed at No. 4 in the ICC Test Rankings. Apart from this the main reason for so much hype and buzz surrounding this 4-Test series is that Pakistan s youngster, Mohammad Aamer, who was involved in spot-fixing scandal the last time he played in England, is returning to the same ground to play his first Test since his comeback from his ban. Zillions of articles, opinions and analysis have been made on him and also on the Pakistan team who have hit rock bottom in the limited-overs format. A lot of changes have been made to their side, but will they deliver? More importantly, what will be the deciding factor in the series? FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Pakistan 2016, 1st Test at Lord s

Better bowlers. Both teams have quality bowlers capable of rattling batting line-ups. This is a series after a long time where the spectators and fans will get to see intense competition between bowlers from both sides. The series offers wide variety of pace, bounce, reverse-, in- or out-swing from pacers of both sides to hook the audience to their seats. In an era where batters have all to cheer for, this is a welcome series where bowlers may have a lot of say in deciding the outcome of the series. Tests are won by bowlers more than batsmen, and both teams have bowlers who can swing Tests single-handedly in one or two sessions. Get ready for quick shifts in momentum when these two teams clash over the next few weeks.

The deadly pair of James Anderson (ruled out of the Lord’s Test) and Stuart Broad, along with Steven Finn and Chris Woakes, can wreak havoc the batting line-up of any team. All four can pitch the ball on the corridor outside off and find edges. Pakistan s inexperienced batsmen will have a stern test in their hand when they come to face them. On the other hand, Aamer is in red-hot form since his return to international cricket. He will be raring to shed memories of the past and start all over again. If his limited-overs performance is anything to go by, England are in for some hostile bowling. The conditions will help him, more so because he can swing the bowl both ways at pace. ALSO READ: ENG announce playing XI for 1st Test against PAK

Apart from Aamer, Pakistan have Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan and Rahat Ali; all of them can pose problems on their day. Wahab had toured England in 2010, when he picked up a fifer in his maiden innings. He will surely like to give it back to England with his action and words. His pace and reverse-swing will give Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow tough time at the crease.

As for spinners, Moeen Ali has a habit of getting important breakthroughs from time to time which will again be essential for the hosts. The batsmen are still confused whether to respect him as a bowler or go all out at him. On the other hand, from the visitors camp, Yasir Shah, the finest wrist-spinner in contemporary cricket, will put the English batsmen to test. He had an excellent series against England in Abu Dhabi in 2015. He has done well in the tour games so a lot rides on him as well.

Speaking of numbers, the renounced pair of Anderson and Broad share 799 wickets between them. Anderson has been ruled out of the Lord’s Test due to an injury, but his arrival will be a big boost for his side. Finn has an average of 28.33 in Tests, while Woakes is coming off a very good series against Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Aamer and Yasir will be Misbah-ul-Haq s go-to bowlers with Wahab and (perhaps) Sohail as back-ups. ALSO READ: Why Mohammad Aamer can rip England apart

All in all, an intense series with a lot of mind games and sledging is about to begin. A lot will be at stake for the visitors who are touring after a long time, and will like to perform to silence their critics and win over their fans’ faith. The hosts, on the other hand, would like to maintain their record in home conditions and win another series. It will all boil down to how they use the red ball. That will determine the result more than anything.

Pick your favourite and be ready for a nail-biting series, finally in the oldest format of the game.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)