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Joey Woodwork 9:09 Thu Aug 11
The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
England v Pakistan, 4th Test, The Oval

August 11-15, 2016
Start time 11am (1000 GMT)

Less than four weeks have passed since Pakistan wrapped up a rousing victory at Lord's in the first Test, capped by a military-inspired set of press-ups in front of the pavilion, but they return to London with very little of that inspirational vim remaining. Trips to Manchester and Birmingham have resulted in two strength-sapping defeats and it is now England who are flexing their muscles ahead of the Oval encounter.

From entering the series ranked fourth in the world, and thanks to Australia's unexpected capitulation in Sri Lanka, England can suddenly see a shortcut to No. 1. That would require victory in the final Test and a 3-1 series scoreline (as well as West Indies to hold off India in one of their two remaining matches) but they are moving in the right direction regardless. In contrast to their tightly drilled ascent to No. 1 five years ago, England seem a little surprised to have found themselves wandering around the summit so soon - and Alastair Cook is sticking to his line that they have plenty to learn, whatever the rankings say.

An improvement on their record in the final Test of a series is clearly the next matter to address. A draw at The Oval will be enough to give England all nine series trophies but a win would underline the sense of progress rather more emphatically. In recent times, England have finished off Test tours with defeats in Centurion, Sharjah and Barbados, while last summer they were beaten at The Oval and Headingley. Such flakiness is unbecoming of a side with aspirations to be the best in the world.

Another reason to guard against complacency is Pakistan's good record at The Oval. Putting aside the memory of their forfeiture in 2006 (a game in which they were well placed), Pakistan have secured several memorable wins in south London, including Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis reverse-swinging their way through England in 1992 and victory on their most recent visit, six years ago. By contrast, since England clinched the 2009 Ashes on this ground, they have only beaten India (in 2011 and 2014), while suffering three defeats and a draw.

Pakistan will always have Lord's and this tour will be remembered for Misbah-ul-Haq's hundred, the heroics of Yasir Shah and the return of Mohammad Amir. But they have a chance to leave with even better memories if they can pull it all together again back in the capital - not to mention an outside shot of reaching No. 1 themselves with a drawn series. The drill sergeants of Abbottabad, just like everyone else, will be watching keenly.

Form guide:

England: WWLDW (last five completed matches, most recent first)

 Pakistan: LLWWW

Team news

Alastair Cook said England were "hoping" to play the same team, which would mean Adil Rashid and Jake Ball missing out again. James Vince has recovered from a finger injury sustained attempting to take a catch at Edgbaston but won't field in the slips.

England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Joe Root, 4 James Vince, 5 Gary Ballance, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Steven Finn, 11 James Anderson

Mickey Arthur hinted at various options for Pakistan's selection, with the need for a fifth bowler even more pressing in the second of back-to-back Tests. If Iftikhar Ahmed - who "bowls offspin and decently," according to Arthur - wins a Test debut, he would likely come into the side at Mohammad Hafeez's expense but bat in the middle order, with Azhar Ali asked to open. A rare four-Test series has increased the workload on Pakistan's pace bowlers and there may also be changes to the attack.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez/Iftikhar Ahmed, 2 Sami Aslam, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Yasir Shah, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Sohail Khan, 11 Rahat Ali/Wahab Riaz

Pitch and conditions

As before the Ashes Test at The Oval last year, a distinctly green-tinged pitch was on show (although that didn't stop Australia from racking up 481 in an innings win) and Cook suggested it would be "suited to pace bowling", with some turn later on. In Surrey's last Championship match here, in June, spinners Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty took 12 wickets between them. The forecast is for a warm finish to the week, which could facilitate the surface breaking up.

Stats and trivia

* A 3-1 series win for England will send them top of the rankings, at least until the completion of India's tour of the West Indies
* Aside from forfeiting the 2006 Test at The Oval, Pakistan have not lost at the ground since 1967
* Chris Woakes needs one more wicket to break James Anderson's record of 23 for an England bowler in a Test series against Pakistan
* Joe Root is 60 runs short of 4000 in Tests; if he gets there in his next innings, he will go level with Kevin Pietersen as 14th fastest overall

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Sven Roeder 8:17 Mon Aug 15
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Saw a bit of The Verdict last night and listening to Trevor Bayliss I wouldn't be getting my injections for Bangladesh if I was James Vince just yet.
Fair summary of the series and rightly pointed out that a few batsmen have the back end of the county season to put their hands up.
Bunch of 5 ODI's between Aug 24 & Sep 4 up now for Eng & Pakistan.

Lovejoy 8:07 Mon Aug 15
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Great come back win by Pakistan and an enjoyable/competitive series played hard by both sides.

I would say Pakistan have certainly righted the wrongs of their last series in England.

stoneman 6:43 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Borthwick, Duckett and Bell Drummond

Get rid of Hales, Vince and Ballance

Sven Roeder 6:07 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Only when they are elected London Mayor

stoneman 6:01 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Why do British born Pakistanis support Pakistan? When do the become England fans? How many generations?

Sick of seeing them support Pakistan despite being here all their lives.

Sven Roeder 4:23 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
On the bright side
Essex 514/8 at Derby
Browne 220no

ray winstone 4:11 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Woeful.

Sven Roeder 2:49 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Final test ..... Aust finally pick the bloke who made 140 last time they were in Sri Lanka (S Marsh) & put their best player of spin (S Smith) at number 3 .... once the series is gone.
Up there with carrying Peter Siddle round the Ashes pitches with movement and then playing him in the dead rubber and batting David Warner at number 4 in the t20 World Cup.

Not quite sure how Rod Marsh still has a job

Sven Roeder 1:45 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Not at all.
Australia have played abysmally (bar M Starc) and have displayed a worrying lack of ability to learn lessons.
Obviously I would prefer them to do better and hopefully they will in the future
A couple of years ago I was a bit concerned about Aust cricket as obviously the likes of Clarke, Rogers , Haddin, Harris & Johnson were near retirement and few options were emerging.
There has been a major shift since then particularly with states like Qld, WA & SA and some major talents seem to be coming through.
As painful as losing to SL is ( we had previously lost one Test to them in 33 years and still never a home Test) it may turn out to be a positive in moving this team on quicker and giving young talent an opportunity.
The future is very bright and about as shiny as Chris Harris's head.
I have NEVER felt more positive

East Auckland Hammer 1:20 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Somewhat surprisingly Cough, Sven jumps straight on the defensive when someone challenges him, or takes the piss.

I think the Sri Lanka debacle is having a rather negative effect on his otherwise sunny disposition.

zebthecat 1:19 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Adieu Gary Ballance - enjoy your winter off

Far Cough 1:18 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Lomas BORING up the whole cricket thread with his interminable beefs with Lolstralia








AGAIN

East Auckland Hammer 1:13 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
So do NZ fans Sven.

And it's INCREDIBLY rich for you to start making claims about crowd behaviour in NZ, given what's gone on for touring teams in Australia for the last 40 years.

East Auckland Hammer 1:10 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
No, you're quite right Sven.

Of course, some of them have probably simply been tarnished by the brush wielded by Haddin, Smith, Warner etc.

Still, if you act like a cunt, you probably are a cunt, and let's be honest, Australian cricketers act like cunts most of the time, and I'm not sure you can really claim otherwise with a straight face.

Anyway, I digress. How's your Ceylon Surrender coming along?

Takashi Miike 1:07 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
kiwis are down under jocks? hahaha. Jonah in a string vest chewing on a deep fried mars bar

Sven Roeder 1:05 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
I love this idea that the likes of Jimmy Anderson , Stuart Broad & Virat Kohli never say anything beyond 'mind the windows, Tino'.

All I am saying is fans of Aust, England , India & S Africa might get annoyed at things said and done but at the end of the day treat it as a game of cricket.
NZers to Aust are like the Scots to the English. CHIPS on shoulders so big it's a wonder they can stand upright

Sven Roeder 12:57 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
A great proportion of that team .... Burns, Khawaja , Voges, Hazlewood , Lyon etc etc had never been seen in NZ
Yet you decided they were 'dickheads'
Just admit NZ fans will abuse every Aust because they are Aust.
You said yourself there wasn't ONE Aust cricketer you respected as a person.
Not one.

East Auckland Hammer 12:54 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
English banter - "Mind the windows Tino"

Kiwi banter - " so we're not playing caught and bowleds in this game then?"

Aussie banter - "I'm gonna break your fucking arm", or "What are you looking at cunt?"

East Auckland Hammer 12:49 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Ha ha test against England and India are played hard with lots of banter?

Not even YOU believe that.

We just don't like dickheads in NZ, not even our own dickheads.

It's why nearly all Australian sporting teams get a hard time here.

Sven Roeder 12:42 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
Tests v NZ never seem that pleasant.
It means too much to your feral fans it seems
Tests v England, India and S Africa are played hard on both sides but at the end of the day it is a game of cricket and we move on.
Lots of banter and then we shake hands and look forward to the next series.
NZ just display pure hatred and would never acknowledge good play by the opposition.
Australia beat you 4-0 with a team that had had 5 or 6 retirements in the previous few months and not once did you mention how well they played.
Your facade of sportsmanship is exposed as a two faced inferiority complex

Sven Roeder 12:33 Sun Aug 14
Re: The OFFICIAL 4th Test Thread - ENG vs PAK
I see Stuart Broad has been fined 20% of his match fee for TWITTERing some umpire abuse
Hales was fined just 15% for showing dissent on the field and then confronting the 3rd umpire in his room and on leaving he made INAPPROPRIATE remarks.

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