Pakistan and England, who both resemble confident sides after their impressive performance recently, are set to square off against one another in an intriguing first of a three-match Test series at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Both the teams possess some dangerous players in their respective sides, which makes the Test match even more interesting. If Pakistan has Younis Khan and Yasir Shah, England have Joe Root and James Anderson. Yonuis and Root have been scoring big runs for Pakistan and England, respectively, on a consistent basis, hence they are going to hold the key for both the sides in the Test series.
The England batting will face a tough time from Pakistan seamers such as Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz, who can run through the England batting line up. However, their biggest test will be against the Pakistani spinners, especially Yasir Shah, who has been a brilliant performer of late.
But England, who are fresh from their sensational Ashes win, will depend on their seamers irrespective of the conditions as they have two of the deadliest opening bowling combo in world cricket – James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Anderson and Broad, who were part of England's team in their 2012 series in the UAE, bowled brilliantly against Pakistan, though they lost the series in an embarrassing manner. The duo can draw inspiration from that series and come up with another great performance with the new ball.
"Last time we were here we had a decent amount of success, myself and Stuart and the two spinners, so we know how to get 20 wickets out here. We know we'll have to bowl very well to do that. It's an exciting challenge; the conditions, the heat, if we do perform well it will be very satisfying," ESPN Crcinfo quoted Anderson as saying.
However, the English will also have to brave the soaring conditions in the UAE, which the Pakistan team is better acquainted to. Anderson believes, as a result, that the bowlers need to be used in short spells.
"We saw Steven Finn bowl seven [in the warm-up], that's probably pushing it a little bit, but we are aware we'll have to be used in short spells," Anderson said.
"Me and Broady have brought it up with the lads already, when we came out here last time we bowled four-five overs maximum which means you have to be on the money from ball one and that puts a bit of emphasis on you as a bowler - you can't just ease into a spell. You have to nail it."
With Anderson and Broad being important bowlers, Pakistan openers -- Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez -- need to play out the new ball and provide a solid platform for the rest of the batsmen to follow. With Younis in amazing form, the right-hander can take it from there in the middle order.
On paper and considering the conditions, it would not be wrong to say Pakistan are favourites, though England, if they get their act right, can make life tough for the men in green.
Where to watch live
Pakistan vs England first Test match is scheduled for a 10am local time ( 11:30am IST, 11am PKT, 7am BST) start with the live coverage in India on Ten Cricket. The live streaming option will be available on Tensports.com.
Cricket fans in Pakistan can watch the Pakistan vs England first Test live on PTV and Ten Sports. Viewers in UK can enjoy the entire Pakistan vs England first Test live action on Sky Sports 2/HD, with live streamingon Sky Go.
Viewers in the US can watch the match live on Willow TV and stream the game on Willow TV Online.