Pakistan win the toss and elect to bat in first test v England
MANCHESTER: Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat in the first of three tests against England starting at a gloomy Old Trafford on Wednesday.
England have named an unchanged side from the one that defeated West Indies by 269 runs last week, though key all-rounder Ben Stokes is unlikely to be used much with the ball due to a quad injury.
"We are full of confidence off the back of two brilliant wins, so we come into the game unchanged and want to make the most of these overhead conditions," England captain Joe Root said.
"We would probably have batted first, but at least we have something to work with.
"Ben is not quite 100% fit to bowl and it is too big a risk (for him to act as a frontline seamer)."
Pakistan have gone with three seam bowlers, including young firebrands Shaheen Afridi, 20, and Naseem Shah, 17, who are likely to play a key role in the series with their pace and movement.
"We can't control the weather, but we are clear in our heads we want to bat first. We are going with two spinners and three seamers, with Shadab as an allrounder," Ali said.
"If you come to England you want to bowl fuller and make the batsmen play. We have bowlers who can hit the seam."
Pakistan last won a test series in England in 1996, though three of the five since have been drawn, including their last two visits in 2016 and 2018.
England are coming off a 2-1 series victory over the West Indies, while Pakistan take part in their first test since beating Bangladesh by an innings and 44 runs in Rawalpindi in early February.
England: Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, James Anderson.
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah.