After a successful Ashes summer England begin their winter tours with a trip to the UAE to play Pakistan

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England will take on Pakistan in the first of three Tests from October 13 in Abu Dhabi. This will be followed by two other Tests – from October 22 and November 1 – at Dubai and Sharjah respectively.  The two teams then play four ODIs and three T20Is.

This is the second successive time England will be playing Tests in UAE against Pakistan without a series in return from the Asian side. The last time they toured UAE for a three-match Test series was in 2012, England were crushed 3-0 by Pakistan. They lost the three Tests by 10 wickets, 72 runs & 71 runs respectively.
England’s side has changed much since those losses, having lost the likes of Andrew Strauss, Jonathon Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann and is a comparatively inexperienced side in these conditions
They of course achieved a big upset, winning the Ashes as underdogs this summer but on the two  pitches which didn’t  assist swing bowling, at Lord’s and the Oval, the English side struggled and lost both matches. It was only where the ball nipped around through the Test match that England were able to push Australia to the back foot.
In UAE, the pitches will of course be slower and dustier than those at those two venues where England lost those two Tests to Australia. England will need to find out answers to them – both, on the batting and the bowling front and especially in two areas. Firstly opening batsman, where Hales and Moeen will compete to open with Cook and ijn spin bowling where uncapped Adil Rashid will get his chance alongside Moeen.
What England do have in their favour is a more balanced side this time round, they will bat deep and field up to six bowlers because of all rounders Moeen and Stokes. Pakistan are a difficult side to beat in these conditions but three out of the last four series have been drawn, with big scores in great batting conditions making it difficult to win series
Pakistan start obvious favourites to win the Test series at 5/6 while England are 3/1 and a  drawn series  at 16/5. Pakistan don’t represent a great deal of value and I fancy England to be competitive, playing a more attacking brand of cricket than on their last tour to the UAE.

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