By News Team
Last Updated: 4th August 2020
Michael Vaughan expects England to see off Pakistan in their opening Test at Old Trafford on Wednesday but feels the visitors can “cause an upset” if they bat first.
England welcome Pakistan to Manchester this week for the first clash of a three Test series and will be hoping to complete another series victory following last month’s 2-1 win over the West Indies.
But while former England captain Vaughan is backing the hosts for victory, he believes Pakistan could give it a real go if they can win the toss and open the batting.
Vaughan said: “England should be too strong… The only way I can see Pakistan winning is by batting first. The weather looks quite set, it looks quite dry, and if they bat first and the likes of Azhar Ali and Babar Azam get going, get to 250-300 in the first innings, with that bowling attack of Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah, they could cause an upset no question if they bat first.
“If they bat second, I think it’s going to be very, very difficult. As we saw in the two games against the West Indies, the pitch does a little bit and it just gets a little bit more uneven as the Test match goes on. Batting first will be crucial for both teams.”
Vaughan has singled out the likes of Naseem Shah and Babar Azam as danger men that England will need to watch out for.
“Naseem Shah, get ready for him,” Vaughan said. “A wonderful player, he’s got an action like Fred Trueman, he bowls about 86-88 miles per hour, swings it both ways. He’s tremendous. With Shaheen Afridi they could be the new Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
“And Babar Azam, with Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root, David Warner, certainly you could put him in that bracket. Babar Azam is high class, he’ll have a good time of it here in England.”
Of England’s players and their chances, Vaughan added: “You’ve got to keep backing Stuart Broad, he’s on a roll after a magnificent performance against the West Indies. Rory Burns, I back him to get a few runs from an England perspective.
“[I’m going for] England to win the first Test match, England to win the series quite convincingly, that is what I’m backing.”