England v Pakistan: Sharjah of the Light Brigade

Cricket Stumps

England will require a light touch to find success in the Middle East.

After an Ashes summer full of pace and power, England will have to march to a different tune to win Tests in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Accuracy, patience and guile will be the watchwords as they attempt to be the first country to beat Pakistan in their new home.

With soil imported from Utter Pradesh in India, Pakistan won't be bounced out and very little will carry to the slips. Spinners will hold the key, as will opening batsmen. It is much easier to play spin bowling when you have some overs under your belt, rather than coming in to play them straight away and struggling to get off the mark. So Alastair Cook and Alex Hales will be looking at scoring big hundreds.

Whilst this a patient, wristy approach may suit Cook, Ian Bell, Moeen Ali and Joe Root it will be interesting to see how Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler approach batting on these slow, lifeless pitches. Mid on and mid off will be lying in wait for a mistimed drive, and the umpire's finger will be primed for those playing across the line of gun barrel straight bowling.

In the end, Test cricket comes down to bowling the opposition out twice, so Ali, Adil Rashid and Root will have to up their game from the standards they showed this summer.