This weekend marks the third test between England and Pakistan which could turn out to be a historic game – with the England team currently holding a 1-0 lead, and Pakistan who haven’t lost a series in the country since the end of 2010 looking to maintain their record, there’s a lot on the table for both teams. There’s also a bigger goal at the end of all of this for both teams too – the ICC World Test Championships. England currently sit in third place behind both India and Australia, and a win here will push them into second ahead of Australia, but the news isn’t so good for Pakistan as a win won’t be enough to push them up whilst sitting over 100 points behind England.
There have been some weather concerns once again however – rain and bad light had hindered play for most of the second Test match and despite a very hot and sunny few weeks in the UK it looks as if some larger storms are starting to return and rain may once again – whilst the early weekend looks to be quite nice, the days either side of Friday, Monday, and Tuesday are shaping up to have some stronger showers which may put an end to Pakistan’s hopes earlier than expected. There have also been some alterations in case this does become a factor and time is lost once again – if time is lost on a particular day then play will resume the following day at 10:30 BST rather than the scheduled time of 11:00 which should allow for a little catch-up, previously Test time has been made up at the end of the day in England, starting earlier removes the possibility of light becoming an issue, however.
So how are each of the teams shaping up? Well, England captain Joe Root has called for the team to do one last big push in order to secure the first win in ten years – this will be their sixth Test game in seven weeks but with no other scheduled the team can really go all out and do as much as possible to secure the win, with the game being played on familiar ground at Southampton too you have to like their chances to impress home fans, even if there won’t be any in the stadium. The fourteen man roster also remains unchanged from what had hoped to be fielded at the second test, and with the players stating there’s no reason for a bad performance here with no other games to play fans can hope to see a reinvigorated squad. For the last series, it’s certain that there may be a lot of eyes on Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler to put on a repeat performance of what had occurred two weeks ago but there will be a lot of emphasis on the whole team to pull together and make it a commanding win.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has quite the hurdle to overcome, not only are they looking to hold on to their decade long winning streak against England, but they’re also in a bit of a loss-streak rut having lost six successive away games, losing three in South Africa, two in Australia and the recent game in England. With the drive to recover, the experienced team can certainly pull out a win but it will be an uphill battle – the players will certainly be hoping the weather stays fair and that there are no disruptions to the game, especially if they’re able to get into a good groove come the weekend. The focus may fall on the bowlers for Pakistan as they unleash two young guns for the third Test – Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah are two young fast bowlers which the Pakistan squad are hoping to guide the way with the increasing exposure only benefiting them – with strong feelings that the two are only getting better, both could be the catalyst to put an end to the recent losing streak and put Pakistan back in a commanding position to lead once again.
Punters certainly have a good weekend to look forward too, however, with England in such a commanding spot many will look to bag the favourites and come away with a comfortable cushion at the end – others will look at the very strong Pakistan squad and fully expect that a comeback is entirely possible for an underdog bet to pay off. With sports betting back in full swing, this is leading to solid support on the markets for this Test match. This is now expected to continue moving to the end of 2020 and next year.