Vaughan: England will sweep Pakistan series despite Stokes absence

Ben Stokes was part of the England team which pulled off a thrilling three-wicket victory in the series opener at Old Trafford but is now missing for family reasons.

Michael Vaughan feels England will sweep the three-Test series against Pakistan despite the absence of Ben Stokes.   -  REUTERS

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has predicted that the hosts will sweep the three-Test series against Pakistan despite the absence of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes for the last two matches.

Stokes was part of the England team which pulled off a thrilling three-wicket victory in the series opener at Old Trafford but is now missing for family reasons.

“He plays a big, big role in that dressing room,” Vaughan wrote in a blog, although he had no doubts about the depth in the England squad.

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“Even though Ben Stokes is out I think England will be too strong. England will win the series 3-0, that's my prediction.”

The Pakistan team led by Azhar Ali dominated much of the opening Test in Manchester but Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler launched a superb counter-attack to power the hosts to an unlikely victory.

“Azhar Ali (is) a young captain in terms of Test matches but an experienced player in terms of Test matches that he's played. I think that was his chance to win a game overseas for the first time,” Vaughan said of the 35-year-old.

He also felt England might rest veteran quick James Anderson in the second Test beginning on Thursday.

“I'd be surprised if he plays back-to-back games, so I think he will be rested. Maybe Sam Curran will come in for him or Mark Wood,” he added. “Zak Crawley will probably come in for Ben Stokes.”

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