Good morning from the Baltic UK. But scrap the weather, who is this coming over the hill? It’s Rehan Ahmed, in a Test cap, England’s youngest ever male Test cricketer, at 18 years and 26 days, 23 days younger than Brian Close – and he never gave up anything without a fight.
Ahmed, a Leicestershire leg-spinning allrounder, has played just three first-class matches but his talent has been bubbling away – with the Under-19s, with the Lions, with Leicestershire and now with England.
Ben Foakes also plays, replacing the resting Jimmy Anderson, and removing the gauntlets from Ollie Pope, who will just bat. Will Jacks steps off the merry-go-round..
Change too for Pakistan. They unearthed a gem at Multan – wrist-spinner Abrah Ahmed. But they must say goodbye. This will be stalwart and former captain Azhar Ali’s final Test.
“I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself,” he said in an emotional press conference. “Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me.
“From being a kid who started as a leg-spinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting lineup, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever.”
Play starts at 5am GMT. Set the clocks.