The shapeshifting nature of a seven-match T20I series makes it difficult to capture the big picture in words that age well, so the first rule of doing this is accepting that.
The seamers, too, have repeatedly failed to find their lines and lengths at crucial points in overs, and evidence of match-up bowling has been scarce. The short-ball at pace was persisted with despite Brook’s prolific ability on the pull and behind the wicket, while rigidity with bowlers’ lines frequently allowed him to back away and open up cover, where deep protection often didn’t exist. The fielding hasn’t helped either, and in the ferocity of the culture war around batting intent, it escapes notice that the best way to limit the need for extreme risk-taking is by making sure you don’t need to chase down any more than necessary.
Pakistan: LWLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
When the opposition amasses huge scores for fun, don’t expect to get any credit as a bowler. Especially one who doesn’t pick up many wickets. And yet, Mohammad Nawaz, having conceded 94 in three games for just one wicket, is arguably Pakistan’s best T20 bowler. It is a selfless role of sorts he plays, operating as a left-arm spinner with only pace and line variations to rely on. He doesn’t possess the ability to turn it big, but it’s uncanny how often a slight slowing of an England innings tempo coincides with Nawaz’s introduction. He hasn’t been afraid to take on an over or two in the powerplay, either, and against an England side that’s scored 580 runs in just under 60 overs, Nawaz has found a way to concede just 7.83 in his dozen.
Evening conditions have cooled down slightly in Karachi, though it remains fairly humid. A fresh pitch will be used for this game.
Naseem Shah might return as Pakistan look to level the series, while the middle order could face a reshuffle as the hosts search for their best combination. Shadab will be expected to come in at some stage, and, if available, would slot straight in for Qadir.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt) 2 Mohammad Rizwan/Mohammad Haris (wk) 3 Haider Ali 4 Shan Masood 5 Iftikhar Ahmed 6 Khushdil Shah/Asif Ali 7 Mohammad Nawaz 8 Shadab Khan/Usman Qadir 9 Mohammad Hasnain 10 Naseem Shah 11 Haris Rauf
England didn’t train on Saturday and would be expected to make a couple of changes for the fourth T20I. Mark Wood will likely be rested after his explosive burst on Friday, with Tom Helm or Olly Stone the likeliest replacements. Hales may also return despite Jacks’ impressive debut. David Willey might come in if Sam Curran gets a rest.
England: 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Alex Hales/Will Jacks, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Duckett, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali (capt), 7 Sam Curran/David Willey, 8 Liam Dawson 9 Reece Topley, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Olly Stone
“You tend to be a bit fresh after seven months out. It’s been a long time, and I felt very tired at the end. I know it’s only a T20, but it’s all the intensity of international cricket.”
England’s Mark Wood opens up on his fearsome spell in his first game back from injury.