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England's plan for the second Test in Pakistan: Daring England bidding to seal series victory

England claimed a remarkable victory over Pakistan in the first Test in Rawalpindi and they are aiming to follow it up in Multan on Friday.

Test captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have ripped up the playbook since taking charge earlier this year, throwing caution to the wind in pursuit of positive results, and England's extraordinary 74-run win in the first Test was one of their greatest ever triumphs in the longest format.

What: Pakistan v England, 2nd Test

Where: Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan, Pakistan

When: 05:00, Friday 9th December

How to watch: Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Odds: Pakistan 7/5, England 7/4, Draw 13/5

Rapid runscoring crucial to England's gameplan

England coach McCullum holds the record for the fastest Test century, a whirlwind 54-ball ton for New Zealand against Australia in 2016, and the main tenet of his cricketing philosophy is to pile up runs as quickly as possible.

In June 2021, then-captain Joe Root was criticised after England batted out for a draw instead of trying to chase 273 off 75 overs against New Zealand at Lord's, but that risk-averse approach has been consigned to the history books by Stokes and McCullum.

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England won six of their seven summer Test matches against the Kiwis, India and South Africa, and their willingness to chase down fourth-innings targets was a feature of their success.

Even without the injured Jonny Bairstow, who scored centuries in stunning run-chases against New Zealand at Trent Bridge and India at Edgbaston, England carried on in the same vein in the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

Their top three of Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, who was playing his first Test since 2016, and Ollie Pope all scored centuries at a combined strike-rate of 104 runs per 100 balls.

That laid the foundations for Harry Brook's freewheeling 153 off 116 deliveries and the Yorkshire youngster followed up with 87 off 65 in the second innings when England went at 7.36 runs per over to set up a declaration.

Brook is 9/2 to be England's Top Batter again in the first innings of the second Test in Multan, where Pakistan's bowlers can expect another onslaught from the tourists.

Test skipper Stokes, who scored a sedate 52 not out off 49 balls to steer England to victory over Pakistan in November's T20 World Cup final, smashed 41 from 18 in the first Test and that kind of attacking intent with the bat is at the heart of the Stokes-McCullum plan.

Risky declaration shows Stokes' winning mentality

Batting first, England racked up 657 in their first innings in Rawalpindi but they still faced the mammoth task of claiming 20 wickets on a flat pitch.

The rate at which they scored their runs left them with plenty of time to attack Pakistan and gave Stokes the chance to experiment with unconventional field settings and different bowling strategies.

Australia, with ace bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon in their side, had taken only four Pakistani wickets in 239 overs in Rawalpindi in March (and one of those was a run-out) so the draw was looming large once the hosts had made 579 in response to England's first-innings total.

Stokes' audacious declaration left Pakistan needing to score 343, which looked eminently achievable given the batting conditions and the time left in the game. The hosts immediately went favourites for the match in-play as England's captain once again showed that he is willing to risk defeat in order to get a victory.

The draw is priced up at 13/5 in the second Test in Multan, but the signs are that 7/4 England will do everything in their power to avoid a stalemate against 7/5 Pakistan.

Bowlers must show tactical flexibility on flat pitches

Debutant spinner Will Jacks had been England's most successful bowler in the first innings, feeding off his captain's confidence to pick up six wickets, but second time around the quick bowlers came to the fore with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries.

Extracting bounce from such a slow surface demanded a huge effort from Ollie Robinson and veteran James Anderson, who has made a career out of bowling a fuller length with artful use of swing and seam movement.

The tactic worked immediately as Robinson had opener Abdullah Shafique caught on the boundary, and Stokes claimed the crucial scalp of home captain Babar Azam before Anderson dried up the runs and turned up the pressure on the batsmen in a final-day masterclass which saw him take 4-36 from 24 overs.

Anderson, 40, may be given a well-earned rest after his magnificent effort in the first Test and England will hope to have Mark Wood, who bowled with serious pace at the T20 World Cup, fit for the second game.

Liam Livingstone has been ruled out by the knee injury that hampered him on his Test debut but the tourists are not short of batting firepower and Surrey youngster Jacks cracked 54 runs from 42 deliveries in his first two Test innings in Rawalpindi.

Whoever comes into the England team will be backed by Stokes and McCullum to play with freedom and aggression so another captivating contest is on the cards in Multan.

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