November 13, 2015
Start time 1500 local (1100 GMT)
Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, has made it abundantly clear that improving England's one-day cricket is a priority, so it would be misguided to assume that after a 2-0 defeat in the Test series they have already endured failure in the section of the tour that matters. Having lost the opening ODI in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan by quite a margin, they will be desperate to respond. England host the Champions Trophy in 2017 and 2019 and want to build for those tournaments by winning regularly overseas as well as on their own shores.
One area where they will be looking for additional impetus is at the top of the order where, in theory, Alex Hales and Jason Roy carry threat in abundance. Anybody who watches county cricket will be aware of the destruction they can wreak, but this has yet to translate into matchwinning performances. Hales has two fifties in 21 ODIs, Roy two in 12 and their double failure in Abu Dhabi led to England's collapse to 14 for 3 and contributed to an inadequate total of 216. On the sort of pitches that remain largely unknown to them, a response is needed.
Pakistan will not release their hold on the series easily. They fielded with commitment and agility in the opening match and will hope to repeat those standards in a second match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Mohammad Hafeez's unbeaten century illustrated how little scoreboard pressure he faced. If they bat first, England need to assemble the sort of score that stretches the likes of Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Only then is Pakistan's lack of batting depth likely to be exposed.
But Pakistan are hardly free of crises. Younis Khan's idiosyncratic retirement has brought far from universal approval, Umar Akmal has been dropped from the T20 squad for what PCB chairman Shahryar Khan has alleged were "unethical activities" at a Hyderabad party, and Saeed Ajmal has had his central contract suspended for criticising the ICC's testing process for illegal actions. So far these remain noises off, but they could potentially have a detrimental effect.
Pakistan: WWLWL(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Players to watch ...
When you watch Pakistan's ODI side in the field you are also observing the positive effect of Grant Luden, their fielding coach, who almost walked out of the job at one time because of disagreements with senior players. The spectacular take by Babar Azam - a diving, one-handed catch at straight midwicket to dismiss Moeen Ali - was just one example of the standards they are now reaching. For England, Reece Topley managed to swing the new ball in the first contest and was rewarded with three new-ball wickets. Now Pakistan have taken a look at him, can he remain as effective?
Now that Younis' stage-managed farewell is done and dusted, Pakistan will reshuffle their middle order and must also be questioning whether to continue the experiment of Bilal Asif as a pinch-hitting opener. Iftikhar Ahmed is the squad replacement for Younis and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan is also back after briefly returning home for the birth of his child.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Azhar Ali (capt), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Babar Azam, 6 Bilal Asif, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Anwar Ali, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Yasir Shah, 11 Mohammad Irfan.
England tend to respond to defeats in the opening game of a series with an unchanged side. They remain committed to Jos Buttler in limited-overs cricket even though Jonny Bairstow might continue to keep him out of the Test side in South Africa. It would seem counterintuitive not to field two spinners, especially when Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have batting ability on their side, but with a small total to defend they were again easily picked off in the first game. Rashid finished with 0 for 60 from nine overs and looked in need of a psychological lift while Moeen is bowling as if all offspinners are a threatened species.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 James Taylor, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 David Willey, 11 Reece Topley.
Pitch and conditions
An unusually unsettled weather forecast for the UAE will leave England looking to the skies on Friday morning and wondering whether they can play an extra seamer, especially as the chance to bowl under lights, with dew falling, might provide additional encouragement. But the pitch was sluggish and dry for the first ODI and it is being used again.
Stats and trivia
- Pakistan have fielded three different opening combinations in their last four ODIs.
- Chris Woakes has now gone six ODIs without taking a wicket and still requires three to reach 50. His last came against Scotland at the World Cup in February.
- Shoaib Malik needs one wicket to reach 150, a match after passing 6000 ODI runs.
"I think the area that most needs attention in English cricket right now is our white-ball cricket. You've seen the way other teams have forged ahead, the World Cup was a great demonstration for that."
Andrew Strauss, director England cricket, lays down the need for improvement
"The circumstances in which Younis Khan announced his retirement is a bad reflection on Pakistan cricket affairs."
Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan captain, unsurprisingly has a strong view on Younis' retirement from one-day cricket
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps