England face Pakistan at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground Thursday for what could be the start of the most explosive Test series of 2016, as England in the First Test will be desperate to redeem themselves after failing to get a win in a four-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates late last year.
But perhaps the biggest story of the four-Test series — and the whole Pakistan tour which keeps them in England through the first week in September for five One Day International matches and a single T20 International following the four Test matches — will be the return to England of pace bowling prodigy Mohammad Amir.
Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq & England’s captain Alastair Cook with the test series trophy at Lord’s. pic.twitter.com/2sOmciAERy
— Syed Yahya Hussaini (@SYahyaHussaini) July 13, 2016
Six years ago, at the age of only 18, Amir was arrested and subsequently jailed for three months in England for his role in a cricket spot-fixing scandal, an incident that occurred in a Lord’s Test match.
Amir, after a ban of five years, returned earlier in 2016 for a series of short-format matches, including bowling in the inaugural Pakistan Super League and then in the T20 Cricket World Cup.
But the First Test at Lord’s, the scene of his earlier disgrace, will be the first Test match since his ban and jail sentence for Amir.
But if Amir’s presence is not enough to raise temperatures at Lord’s, left-arm quick Wahab Riaz added fuel to the fire, warning England, “Don’t mess with us because we can mess with you more.”
England, Pakistan aim for upward movement in MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings https://t.co/J9hVImNc6r pic.twitter.com/77ytUJ960k
— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) July 12, 2016
At the same time, England are missing their veteran, superstar swing bowler James Anderson, who hopes to return from an injury for the Second Test of the four-match series, but will be forced to sit out the first match.
Watch India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar offer his analysis of the Pakistan vs. England Test cricket series in the video below.
To find out how to watch a free and legal live stream of the England vs. Pakistan First Test match, see the streaming links at the bottom of this article. First ball is scheduled for 11 a.m. British Summer Time on Thursday, July 14, at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, England.
Fans in the United States can log in to the live stream at 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 3 a.m. Pacific.
The England players, however, say that the distractions of Amir’s return, and their previous drubbing by Pakistan in October and November of last year when they managed no better than a draw against three defeats, are far less important than the conditions they face starting on Thursday.
“Our biggest challenge is going to be this wicket,” said England fast bowler Stuart Broad. “The Test match against Sri Lanka was a bit of a bore draw so it will be interesting to see what they produce. The biggest test for the bowling unit will be trying to do what no other team has done this year, which is to win a game and take 20 wickets at Lord’s. It was a challenge when we had Jimmy (Anderson)in the side four weeks ago, so it will be an even bigger challenge this time.”
After three decisive victories over Sri Lanka in May and June, the two sides ground to a draw when their Test series concluded at Lord’s.
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There are two ways to watch the England Vs. Pakistan First Test Match live online, free and legally. The first option is ESPN3, the online-only service of ESPN, which will stream the entire Test Match from the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, starting on Day One, at this link. ESPN3 is free to subscribers of almost any major internet service provider and dozens of smaller ISPs. For a complete list, check this link, or try the instructions at this link if you do not have an account with an ISP that carries ESPN3.
The entire England Vs. Pakistan Test cricket series will also be streamed live online by international sports network One World Sports. One World Sports is available through TV providers, but to stream the match live, the Sling TV international sports package includes One World Sports and costs a fee of $10 per month. But the first month is free, and the subscription can be canceled at any time. To access the Sling TV offer, visit this link.
[Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images]