Ends: Kirkstall Lane End, Football Stand End
Home Team: Yorkshire
Test History: 76 Tests; 32 home wins; 25 away wins; 1 neutral win; 18 draws
Last 10 Tests: 3 home wins; 5 away wins; 1 neutral win, 1 draw
Last 10 tosses: 7 batted first (4 wins, 3 defeats); 3 bowled first (1 win, 1 draw, 1 defeat)
Headingley is a ground with almost unrivalled tradition and history, but was in need of significant redevelopment for some time. Late last decade, the venue finally got a deserved makeover – and is set for more before 2019.
With the £21m development at the Kirkstall Lane end complete, the new Carnegie Pavilion contains new player changing rooms, world-class media facilities, the provision of teaching amenities – the pavilion is a joint-venture with Leeds Metropolitan University – and corporate hospitality areas.
Yorkshire, too, have honoured one of their great fast bowlers, Fred Trueman, by naming the members’ enclosure in the pavilion after the man who took 307 Test wickets for England at an average of just 21.57.
The pitch has not been affected by the redevelopment, and Headingley can usually be relied on for a result. Indeed, there hadn’t been a draw in Leeds since a rain-affected Test against Pakistan in 1996, until South Africa forced a stalemate in 2012. In 1981, Ian Botham and Bob Willis combined to see England to an astonishing Ashes victory after being forced to follow on by the Australians as the home side went on to win the urn in a series known ever after as Botham’s Ashes.
The club, meanwhile, have unveiled an ambitious development plan to ensure Headingley remains a viable international venue, which will eventually bring a new pavilion, permanent floodlights and an increased capacity to 20,000. This could cost as much as £50m but, despite the Yorkshire’s fragile fiscal standing, is important to the ground’s international future.
Last Time Out
Joe Root got an absolute roasting for a sporting declaration that allowed the West Indies to pull off an unlikely run chase in 2017.
Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach got stuck into the England top order and helped bowl the hosts out for 258.
Hundreds from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope studded an effort of 427 all out that gave the West Indies a lead of 169.
Root would declare once England had reached 490 for 8 with allrounders Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes hitting valuable fifties.
Hope tonned up again in a brilliant run chase that saw the West Indies win by five wickets.
Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath said ahead of the Test in 2016: “I have lots of faith that we can take 20 wickets here. Last time we didn’t have Dushmantha Chameera. He is an extra quick option for us. When the quicks are attacking, I have to slip into that supporting role and keep it tight from my side. On the fourth or fifth day, I will get some opportunities as well.”
England paceman Steve Finn says it’s “hard to find your rhythm” here because of the sloping run ups.
Happy Hunting Ground
Alastair Cook has scored 672 runs here in ten Tests and eighteen innings making him the leading scorer at the ground in Test cricket among the current squad.
Azhar Ali has scored 161 runs at Headingley with a top score of 80 while Mohammad Amir’s seven in 2010 make him the leading wicket-taker in the current Pakistan
Bowling-wise, Anderson and Broad are top of the pops by virtue of sheer number of appearances. Broad has 36 wickets in eight games, while Anderson has 34 in nine with his best return in his most recent visit.
The weather is set to be quite pleasant with warm temperatures and a low chance of rain on all five days.
Headingley is usually a result wicket and it generally pays to bat first with neither side likely to buck that trend should the coin fall in their favour.
You fancy Pakistan might not mind having the ball in hand early against an English batting lineup that is on the ropes.
No solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
England could go all in on pace in Joburg.
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