The Barmy Army regained The Ashes after beating the mighty Aussies 3-2 on home soil. A series win that was much needed for Cook and Co.
With so many outstanding performances and amazing talent development from that series win, England are now aiming to turn the tables on Pakistan.
Last time the two teams met it was a very one-sided affair. Pakistan did what they do to most teams in UAE, whitewashing an unyielding England side. Pakistan are also in red hot form, a recent series win against the Sri Lankans and are all set to do the same against England. Here are some key aspects from an English point of view before the battle begins.
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Pitch and Conditions
The hot conditions of UAE are no different to Pakistan, but England always struggle to immediately settle. The pitches are completely different that offers very little movement for the swing bowlers, a key strength for England.
Spin plays a key role and fast bowlers are hammered for runs. England must concentrate and try to adjust to the conditions quickly to stand any chance.
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Pakistan’s Deadly Spin
Yasir Shah is indeed a class act, probably the best spinner in the world at the moment. He led Pakistan’s bowling and ripped the batting of Sri Lanka apart.
Pakistan are well aware regarding the problems England face with spin. With last tour of England in mind, Pakistan are likely to put Zulfiqar Babar in the frame as well. Again, a bowler with enough ability to keep England at bay, especially on the spinning tracks of UAE.
The duo will be lethal and very hard to score runs against if they tie both ends down. How England deal with Pakistan's spin will decide the outcome of the series.
The Ability To Change
England are a team with world class fast bowlers. But, UAE demands a different tactic and game plan.
England managed to beat Australia with their ruthless fast bowling factory and a single spinner in Moeen Ali. The conditions in the desert will require another spinner.
Despite the promising performances, England will have to sacrifice a fast bowler in order to get in someone like Adil Rashid. It will be a test of character for Cook's men as they must mould themselves according to the situation- and fast.