England v Pakistan
Friday 17 May, 13:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Morgan misses out
England's World Cup preparations have been hampered by the loss of Eoin Morgan. Morgan will be banned for one match because of a slow over rate in Bristol.
That could mean a reprieve for Joe Denly, whose ambitions to be part of the tournament look certain to be dashed. A full-toss laden over in game two pretty much scuppered his chances. James Vince will open with Jonny Bairstow rested.
Jos Buttler will skipper the side. Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes and David Willey are likely to be rested. Adil Rashid, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer are certain to feature. Archer's stock continues to rise without actually playing.
Victory in Bristol was down to another sensational batting performance. No team has hit 300 more than England in the last two years. But not team has conceded 300-plus more and there have to be concerns about a one-dimensional bowling attack.
Pakistan search for bowling breakthrough
Pakistan have received a major boost with Shadab Khan joining up with the squad. Shadab has suffered from hepatitis but is now fit and ready to tune up for the World Cup.
He is second on their wickets list in the last two years only to Hasan Ali with 49 playing 42. He provides vital balance to the XI because he can strike a mean ball. Faheem Ashraf might have to miss out with Junaid Khan due a run and Shaheen Shah Afridi rated highly.
There is nothing wrong with their batting. Imam-ul-Haq's brilliant century underlined his potential as a superstar and his numbers are getting close to the likes of Rohit Sharma and Jonny Bairstow. Fakhar Zaman is not too shabby, either.
Pakistan may feel it worthwhile to take Babar Azam out of the firling line and give crease time to either Mohammad Hafeez or Shoaib Malik. Haris Sohail and Asif Ali are striking it too well to miss out.
Runs, runs, runs
The last six first-innings scores at Trent Bridge read: 268/481/444/286/349/287/182. Those two scores of 400-plus suggest a belter of a batting wicket.
They were both by England – against Australia last summer and Pakistan three years ago. But against India last year England could manage only 268 as Kuldeep Yadav ran riot with six wickets. There is no edge on the toss under lights with seven wins each over 15 matches and one tie.
Room for trades
England are [1.40] and Pakistan [3.35]. But all is not lost. There was some big value at the break in Bristol when England, chasing 359, were [2.50]. The market will be more cautious now but you should still get decent numbers for England in a big chase. And we would back them to pretty much chase anything up to 400.
Pakistan are not to be written off in a chase off their own. We will say until we are blue in the face that England are there to be taken on batting first. It's just that Pakistan could be a much bigger price at the break. No more than 330, though.
Bairstow and Roy are 11/4 and 16/5 favourites respectively for top England bat with Sportsbook. As you would expect. Bairstow hit 139 off 92 balls against Australia at the venue last summer. But with Bairstow out earl-bird takers of Vince's 9/2 will be chuffed.
Roy managed a half-century. Joe Root and Jos Buttler managed half-centuries against Pakistan in 2016 as England compiled 444. Alex Hales was the chief architect, though, with 171. Root is 10/3 and Buttler 9/2. Ben Stokes still holds value at 5s.
Imam still underrated
Despite two top-bat efforts Imam is still not jolly for top Pakistan runscorer with Sportsbook. Babar gets the nod at 3/1. So there's nothing wrong with betting Imam again at 10/3 or Fakhar at 7/2. Haris has been hitting the ball so cleanly that a big score could be just around the corner. The 5/1 is not a bad bet.
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