England v Pakistan: Jake Ball to make debut in first Test at Lord's

Jake Ball
Jake Ball has taken 96 first-class wickets at an average of 25.96
England v Pakistan, first Investec Test
Venue: Lord's Dates: 14-18 July
Coverage: Live text commentary and in-play highlights on the BBC Sport website, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online

Nottinghamshire bowler Jake Ball will make his England debut in the first Test against Pakistan, which begins on Thursday.

James Anderson is not ready to return at Lord's after a shoulder injury, though captain Alastair Cook expects him to be fit for the second Test.

Ball has been picked ahead of fellow uncapped seamer Toby Roland-Jones.

"It's a very special moment for him," captain Alastair Cook told BBC Sport. "He's been very impressive this year."

Ball, 25, was in the squad for all three Tests during England's 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka this summer but did not play.

Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, has returned to training but Cook said there was a "high risk he could flare the injury up" if he played too soon.

The second Test begins at Old Trafford - home of Anderson's county side, Lancashire - on Friday, 22 July.

Joe Root will bat at three for England at Lord's, with James Vince and Gary Ballance at four and five respectively, but Cook said talk about the Yorkshire batsman's placing had become "a mountain out of a mole hill".

"To me, it doesn't really matter what number you bat at," added Cook. "He is a world-class player and one of the best all-round batsmen in the game."

Joe Root says England have enough depth to beat Pakistan

'England can really hurt you'

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has paid little attention to England's batting changes, insisting his side must focus on their own strengths.

"Sometimes when you have two or three batters struggling, that could be an area you can really exploit," he said. "But I think you need to focus on the whole batting line-up.

"England are really good, especially in the lower-middle order. They can really hurt you.

"It's obviously an advantage if one of the main bowlers of the opposition is missing, but at same time we know all their bowlers are really good in these conditions. We have to be really up to the mark."

Bowler Mohammad Amir returns to the ground at which, in August 2010, he deliberately bowled no-balls, for which he was later banned and jailed.

Cook played down Amir's return, while Misbah described it as a "big opportunity" for the 24-year-old.

The left-arm seamer took four wickets for Pakistan against Somerset last week.

"He is just focusing on what he has to come and do, and he's really responding well to that," said Misbah. "There are no worries for us."

Mohammad Asif: Every human being has made a mistake

'Door open to everybody'

Mohammad Asif shared 31 England wickets with Amir in the 2010 Test series before being caught spot-fixing, and told BBC Sport he wishes he was bowling with him.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said he would consider both Asif and former captain Salman Butt, who was banned and jailed over the same spot-fixing incidents, for selection.

"I guess the door's open for everybody," he added. "Once they've seen their suspensions, everybody would be available for selection. Whether or not their form is going to warrant them getting a gig, I'm not sure.

"For me, the other stuff is irrelevant. If they're eligible to play, and they're putting performances on the table, then we'll look at them"

What will the weather be like?

England's one-day series against Sri Lanka this summer was disrupted by wet weather, but fans and players alike will hope the worst of the British summer is behind them.

Light wind and plenty of sunshine is predicted at Lord's on Thursday - it should remain dry and fine.

Spots of drizzle may appear throughout the weekend but, despite being cloudy and breezy, it is expected to mostly remain dry.

Mickey Arthur will be on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday from 21:00 BST in a Pakistan cricket special.

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