McCullum had stated at the start that his team would be striving for results, even if it meant defeat. It helps that England’s World Test Championship hopes were dead upon arrival. There is no better way than to go 2-0 up in a series of three matches after two.
Babar Azam may be grateful to know that this England will keep coming, much like an undead horde. He does not enjoy the stress that comes with setting the fields when England’s batters are in charge. But that very impulsiveness could result in Pakistan being allowed back into the contest, particularly if the pitches are anything like Rawalpindi.
Pakistan may need to find a new spirit for adventure, but they could start by selecting and then move on. The batters performed well in the first Test. They scored hundreds for the captain, openers, and Saud Shakeel with 76 runs. It is clear that England’s attack with three debutants and Naseem, 19, as its most-experienced head, was always going to struggle against it.
If Pakistan is to keep their WTC final hopes alive, they must push for better results in four home Tests against England. Once the morning fog in Multan has cleared, it will be time to pedal to the metal again. Go harder or go home.
Pakistan LLWLD (last 5 Tests, most recent First)
In the spotlight
What will Acme Pakistan Selection Generator come up this week? After Haris Rauf’s injury, they decided not to add an experienced seamer to their 17-man squad. However, they could still make up to four changes to the attack. Due to a sore left shoulder, Naseem is a major doubt. Mohammad Nawaz, a spin-bowling option that can add depth to the batting, seems likely to be back. Allrounder Faheem Aashraf could also be picked. Mohammad Wasim Jr and Abrar Ahmad could be Pakistan’s fifth or sixth debutants in the series.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Abdullah Shafique, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Babar Azam (capt), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7 Agha Salman/Faheem Ashraf, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Naseem Shah/Mohammad Wasim Jnr, 10 Mohammad Ali, 11 Abrar Ahmed/Zahid Mahmood
Stokes confirmed one change to England XI. This means that, barring another late bout, Ollie Pope will keep the gloves ahead a fit-again Ben Foakes. Wood will take over for the injured Livingstone.
England1 Zak Crawley; 2 Ben Duckett; 3 Ollie Pope (wk); 4 Joe Root; 5 Harry Brook; 6 Ben Stokes (capt); 7 Will Jacks; 8 Ollie Robinson; 9 Jack Leach; 10 Mark Wood and 11 James Anderson
Conditions and pitch
Stats and trivia
“We have done comebacks before and were confident of doing it again. We made mistakes in Pindi and we need to reduce them.”
Babar Azam Make issues a rallying call
“Regardless of whether we bowl or bat first, we will still be playing the same style. If we bat first, we’ll push the run rate and move as fast as possible. I don’t think there will be much difference in how we approach batting first. [Rawalpindi] With the ball.”
Ben Stokes Promises more of the same
Alan Gardner is a deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick