Three England v Pakistan head-to-heads that will decide the series

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Football News

With the First Test commencing tomorrow here are three key battles that will define the match and could decide the result.

Adil Rashid v Yasir Shah

This is a battle of two classical leg-spinners going against each other and how they perform will be decisive to deciding the result.

Shane Warne believes that their confrontation is good for cricket on the whole. "When you've got Yasir Shah and Rashid, two good leg-spinners playing, it's going to make for better cricket."


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Both bowlers have entered the Test scene in their late twenties, with Shah making his debut at 28 and Rashid to make his at 27.

Shah has experienced huge amounts of success since beginning his Test career with 61 wickets in 10 tests. How he bowls will possibly be the defining factor of the series as the premier spin bowler on either side.

Shah's injury though could make the contest between the two spinners more even. Will Rashid be able to match Shah and provide dents in the strong Pakistan batting line-up.

Joe Root v Younis Khan

Root and Khan are the two nations' premier batsman, with both likely to be there country's leading run scorers at the end of their careers. Khan is just 19 runs shy of Javed Miandad's national record.

How the two play will be crucial to whether either side can produce big scores unlike the last series between the two teams where the 300 mark was passed only three times overall.

If Root can overcome Khan in this battle and prove his adaptability then England could be on their way to a historic victory.

Jos Buttler v Sarfraz Ahmed

This is an interesting head to head as Buttler cannot be entirely certain of his place in the team throughout the series due to his poor form and struggles against spin.

Although I believe he will get the benefit of persistent selection in the First Test and will retain his place.

He faces Sarfraz Ahmed who at the moment is possibly the finest Keeper-Batsman in the game with an average 50.30 in his career 15 higher than Buttler. He also has the highest average of any player who has played five matches this year.

Although perhaps even more important will be their performances with the gloves as spin is set to play a crucial part in the series and the coming Test. Both glovemen are set to have many stumping chances especially Buttler with Rashid spinning the ball away from Pakistan's dearth of Right Handed batsmen.

If Buttler is able to dominate in this area then he may be able to make up for anything he lacks in the batting department in comparison to Ahmed.

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