England work with teenagers to help spin dilemma in third Test
It is no secret that the way that England play the Pakistan three-pronged spin attack will chiefly decide which team wins the third Test and Andrew Strauss’ team can certainly not be criticised for their lack of effort in practice.
Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez have been responsible for 34 of the 40 English wickets to have fallen in the opening two Tests and were primarily responsible for skittling out England for 72 in the second innings in Abu Dhabi recently.
In an effort to prevent a similar collapse and to score substantial runs for the first time in the series, four young local spin bowlers have been brought into the practice nets in the hope of replicating the type of bowling that will be faced in the third Test.
The bowlers all represent Phoenix Medicines domestically and have spent hours putting the failing England batsmen through their paces.
Asad Ali is capable of bowling the doosra that has served Ajmal so well thus far, Fahad Ansari bowled quicker spin to prevent England getting caught back on their crease and Daniyal Shakeel is left handed and would have been a big help to the technique of Kevin Pietersen.
It is hoped that this will make England better prepared and 13/8 could be a steal of a price in the cricket odds to win the third Test.
Meanwhile, if an England batsmen can contribute the first century of the series, this would leave them in pole position to scoop the man of the match award.
Eoin Morgan is 25/1 in this market and is expected to retain his place despite calls for him to be dropped.
With everything to prove as he will be totally playing for his place, this could be a major price, especially as English trio Graham Onions, Steven Finn and Ravi Bopara are all 20/1 and are virtually guaranteed not to play.