Pakistan v England: Mark Wood returns but Ben Foakes misses out in Multan

By Stephan ShemiltChief cricket writer in Multan
Mark Wood
Mark Wood last played a Test for England in March
Pakistan v England, second Test
Venue: Multan Dates: 9-13 December Start time: 05:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, BBC Sounds and BBC Sport website & app. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Pace bowler Mark Wood will return to the England team for the second Test against Pakistan, starting on Friday.

Wood, 32, replaces injured all-rounder Liam Livingstone in the only change from the side that won the first Test, meaning no place for Ben Foakes.

Regular wicketkeeper Foakes missed the first Test through illness and his stand-in Ollie Pope keeps the gloves.

England will seal their first series win against Pakistan outside of the UK for 22 years with victory in Multan.

Wood has not played a Test since March because of an elbow injury that kept him out of the home summer.

His inclusion gives the England attack an extra dimension. Wood is, perhaps, the quickest bowler in the world. That could really help on a pitch which could be just as flat as the unforgiving first-Test pitch in Rawalpindi.

"Having someone in your squad who can bowl at 150 km/h is a massive bonus for any team around the world, especially as Pakistan is a very hard place to come and win," said England captain Ben Stokes.

"Having someone of his calibre and what he brings will be massive for us. It will add to our ability to take 20 wickets."

With Wood included, England could have left out all-rounder Will Jacks, but have instead opted for the extra bowling option in favour of specialist keeper Foakes.

Foakes has been England's first-choice gloveman since Stokes took over as captain and was originally named in the XI for the first Test, only to be ruled out on the morning of the game.

Stokes has repeatedly called 29-year-old the best wicketkeeper in the world and the captain says his omission from this Test has no reflection on his future prospects, despite Pope and the injured Jonny Bairstow providing options behind the stumps.

"It's obviously very tough on Foakesy to miss out on this game," Stokes told BBC Sport.

"Pakistan is very hard place to come and win, especially in the longer format. Understanding that makes decisions like this, as hard they are, a little bit easier.

"One thing we did say to him was not to take it as any future marking on himself in this team. It's for this Test match at the moment.

"We had to take the decision on what we thought was the best way of creating 20 chances on this pitch."

Foakes' Surrey team-mate Pope scored a century batting at number three in the first Test, but had a mixed game with the gloves.

The 24-year-old dropped a catch in Pakistan's first innings and failed to move for an edge when England only needed one wicket to win.

However, Pope also took a smart stumping on the fourth morning and a spectacular acrobatic catch when England were pushing for victory on the final afternoon.

In what will only be Pope's third Test keeping wicket, Stokes said England will be mindful of his workload and Ben Duckett, another part-time keeper, has been put on stand-by to take the gloves if required.

England's win in Rawalpindi was one of their all-time great overseas triumphs and has set up the prospect of a first away win against Pakistan since 2000.

"The confidence we take out of last week into this week is going to be huge for us," added Stokes.

"It's very important for us to keep pushing forward and not be complacent.

"The big one is not to get conservative and be happy we're 1-0 up, because we'll certainly be trying to leave here 2-0."

Security in Multan is tighter than for the first Test in Rawalpindi, when the teams stayed in nearby Pakistan capital Islamabad.

On what is England's first Test tour of Pakistan for 17 years, the teams are given a 'presidential' level of security, involving around 5,000 police each day at a cost of $2m (£1.64m) for the tour.

In Multan, the travelling media are not permitted to leave their hotels without armed guards.

On Wednesday morning, gunfire was heard near the England team hotel, but their security plans have not been changed.

The shots were attributed to rivals gangs around 1km from the hotel. Four arrests were made.

England XI for second Test v Pakistan: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope (wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Will Jacks, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.

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