When Pakistan last played a Test at Lord’s in 2010, three of their players ultimately ended up serving time in jail.
Fast-bowler Mohammad Amir, who was convicted of deliberately bowling no-balls in exchange for cash alongside Mohammad Asif, returns to the home of cricket today after serving a five-year ban from the game.
The bad blood that remains between the two sides gives a real edge to this series, which starts on Thursday.
England fought hard but ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat to Pakistan in the UAE over the winter, despite Alastair Cook’s heroics with the bat.
Impressive series victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka have followed, yet the suspicion remains that they don’t know their best team.
Nick Compton has been dropped after failing to seize his opportunity at No3 and matters haven’t been helped by James Taylor’s enforced retirement.
With Ben Stokes and Jimmy Anderson absent through injury, England look a little lightweight.
That said, Pakistan haven’t played a Test since sealing victory over England last November.
Preparations for this match have also been hampered by the weather.
Rain put paid to Pakistan’s warm-up matches against Somerset and Sussex, and there is always the danger they’ll struggle in unfamiliar English conditions.
However, in Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq they boast two of the best accumulators in world cricket, despite having a combined age of 80.
With Anderson missing, I think England will also struggle to take all 20 wickets, meaning the draw at 11/4 with Betway looks a good price.
All four of Middlesex’s County Championship games this season at Lord’s have been high scoring stalemates, as was the Test against Sri Lanka earlier this summer.
With weather set fair in NW8, I think bat will dominate ball once again.
Captain Cook made 450 runs in the three UAE Tests, including an imperious 263 in the drawn first match in Abu Dhabi.
He always seems to score runs at Lord’s – with four Test tons at the home of cricket.
As a result, I recommend buying his total runs for this match at 93 with Sporting Index.
Draw 11/4 Betway
Buy Cook match runs 93 Sporting Index