Joe Root says England have ‘head start’ going into Pakistan Tests

Joe Root believes England will have a “head start” against Pakistan in their three-Test series following their recent victory over West Indies.

England came from behind to beat Jason Holder’s men 2-1 and will be seeking back-to-back series wins behind closed doors when they face a Pakistan side who are unbeaten in Test series in England since 2010.

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Captain Root says his team’s experience in bio-secure conditions in a competitive Test series could give them an edge over Pakistan, whose preparation has been limited to internal warm-up games.


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“We are used to playing in this environment, having three games under our belt, and we have played some really good cricket in the last two,” Root told reporters ahead of the first #raisethebat Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

“Naturally, having played some high-intensity, competitive Test cricket will definitely serve us well going into this series. That, and obviously playing in our home conditions, gives us a head start.”

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England rebounded from a four-wicket defeat to West Indies at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton – a game for which Root was absent due to the birth of his second child – to win the next two Tests by 113 runs and 269 runs at Emirates Old Trafford.

Root says England’s successes in Manchester will give them another lift as they look to snap a poor run of results in first Tests, having lost eight of their previous 10 opening games in multi-match series.

“Previous good results will fill our group with confidence – that should play in our favour – plus guys are up to speed with the rhythm of Test cricket so there is no excuse going into this week,” said Root.

“It’s important we don’t take that for granted as Pakistan are very talented and will be up for this series but we are playing some very good cricket.

“We feel we are starting to emulate our game-plan more consistently. The challenge is to keep trying to nail that as consistently as possible and to get better at doing that over and over again.

“We are very aware that in previous series we have not got off to the best of starts and been 1-0 down so there is a real focus on trying to get a win early on. It is always hard work when you feel like you are behind.”

Pakistan have a varied seam attack, including 17-year-old right-arm quick Naseem Shah, young left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi, metronomic seamer Mohammad Abbas and leg-spinners Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan.

“We know they are a very good side and have had a lot of success in English conditions of late,” said Root.

“They have got some fantastic players and done some special things here.

I have watched a lot of footage and he is very exciting. He looks very skilful and has pace so we will just have to get out there and try and gauge it.

Joe Root on Naseem Shah

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“Similar to West Indies, they have a very talented bowling group and some experienced leg-spinners as well. There will be different challenges – the ball spinning away from the bat for the right handers for one – while their seam attack has a different make-up with the left-arm angle within their squad.

“There is some raw pace and young talent we won’t have seen before in Test cricket, and then a wily campaigner like Abbas, who proved on the last tour and in county cricket that he knows the conditions really well and how to exploit some natural movement.

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