Cricket-England recall Wood, Pope retains keeper's gloves for Multan test


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - First Test - England v Pakistan - Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, Pakistan - December 5, 2022. England's wicketkeeper Ollie Pope dives to take a catch to dismiss Pakistan's Zahid Mahmood. REUTERS/Tanveer Shahzad

(Reuters) -England replaced injured all-rounder Liam Livingstone with fit-again fast bowler Mark Wood in the only change to their squad for the second test against Pakistan, with Ollie Pope retaining the wicketkeeper's gloves.

Livingstone has returned home after sustaining a knee injury in his debut test in Rawalpindi, where England pulled off a remarkable 74-run victory for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Wood missed the first test as he continued his recovery from a hip injury.

Ben Foakes, who missed the opener with illness, is now fully recovered but England skipper Ben Stokes confirmed that Pope, who made 108 in the first innings in Rawalpindi, will continue behind the wicket because of his superior batting.

"I'll still keep saying that he (Foakes) is the best keeper in the world," Stokes said on the eve of the match, which begins on Friday.

"It must sound silly to not be picking him but you've got to see the conditions we face here. Pakistan is a very hard place to come and win.

"Adding Mark Wood into the side gives us the best opportunity to take 20 wickets.

"That's what we came here to do. We came here to try and win the game of cricket and not be conservative ... ."

While light faded early in Rawalpindi, morning fog may further reduce the playing time in Multan which is why Wood's return could prove crucial for the visitors.

Off-spinner Will Jacks, who claimed six wickets on his test debut in Rawalpindi, was also retained.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam predicted a dry pitch in Multan with lot more assistance for the spin bowlers.

"Looks like it will assist the spinners, and you can expect some reverse swing too," Babar told reporters.

"We've nearly finalised the 11 players for the match but we need to take a look at the pitch first.

"We were in charge of the game in Rawalpindi but our batsmen could not finish it. We've learnt from our mistakes and will try not to repeat them."

England will conclude their first test tour of Pakistan since 2005 with a match in Karachi.

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford and Ken Ferris)

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