England have to win the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley to avoid a series defeat, but the omens are not good for the hosts.
They have won just two of the last eight Test matches they have played in Leeds, even managing to lose to a relatively weak West Indies side last summer.
However, there is surely no way England can play as badly as they did in the first Test at Lord’s when they were hammered by nine wickets.
With the likes of skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow back at home in Yorkshire, they will all be out to right the wrongs of last week and in the process avoid a third straight Test series defeat.
The draw at 15/4 might look tempting, but the weather forecast is set fair for a majority of the match and a positive outcome seems far more likely.
Three Lions captain Root has only one Test ton to his name on home turf in Leeds and he will no doubt be desperate to not only improve on that record, but also help his side recover some pride lost during some dismal recent performances.
He has gone 18 Test innings without a century, but, having passed 50 on no fewer than ten occasions in that time, surely he is due a big score and there would be no better time and no better stage for him to deliver on.
Root’s fellow Tyke Bairstow made 140 against Sri Lanka at Headingley two summers ago and is also going to be keener than most to delight the home fans.
Having seen his stumps rearranged twice at Lord’s, Bairstow has something of a point to prove and will also want to show that he can handle the extra responsibility of having been pushed up to number five in the batting order.
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