Pakistan embark on new territory with renewed hopes

Updated 13 Aug 2020

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The opening clash of the three-match rubber at Old Trafford was the 84th overall such encounter between these teams with England winning 26 of them. — Reuters/File
The opening clash of the three-match rubber at Old Trafford was the 84th overall such encounter between these teams with England winning 26 of them. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: Pakistan has gone through a long journey since they toured England for the first time way back in the summer of 1954. During this period of 64 years they confronted the host nation in 15 Test series until 2018.

From Thursday the Ageas Bowl in the port city of Southampton on the south coast of England will stage the first of its two Tests against Pakistan, who have had previously played Test cricket at six different grounds in five English cities.

These stats, of course, are all before the start of Pakistan’s current tour of England. The opening clash of the three-match rubber at Old Trafford was the 84th overall such encounter between these teams with England winning 26 of them — including the three-wicket triumph against Azhar Ali’s men last Saturday — and Pakistan winning 21 thus far.

On the English soil, however, the two sides have met in 54 Tests with home team now enjoying a 24-12 winning run against Pakistan with 18 matches drawn across six venues — Lord’s and The Oval in London, Old Trafford, Headingley in Leeds, Birmingham’s Edgbaston and Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Of the venues where Pakistan have played at the highest level, Lord’s has staged 15 Tests, The Oval and Headingley 10 each, Old Trafford nine — including the first match of the ongoing series — Edgbaston eight and Trent Bridge four.

Since elevated as a Test centre, Southampton’s Ageas Bowl — also formerly known as Rose Bowl — has staged four Tests with the maiden game against Sri Lanka in 2011 ending in a draw due to rain.

In the subsequent three Tests in Southampton, England twice defeated India — in 2014 and 2018 — but lost to West Indies just last month in the first-ever Test to be held in bio-secure bubble due to the Covid-19.

Southampton made its big-time debut in 2004 during the triangular ODI series with the maiden fixture involving South Africa and Zimbabwe. So far 31 ODIs have been played here.

Pakistan have played five ODIs in Southampton and have won just one — versus England in 2006 — while they were humbled by West Indies during 2004 ICC Champions Trophy before England upstaged the greenshirts thrice in succession — in 2010, 2016 and just before the start of the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Pakistan have not yet figured in a T20 International in Southampton while England have won three of the five such fixtures held at this venue since 2005.

Just to recap Pakistan’s exploits at the Test match level against England, 10 of their 12 victories in England have been achieved in London alone with both Lord’s and The Oval being lucky to the visitors five times apiece. The remaining two wins were at Headingley and Old Trafford.

In between those victories over the Englishmen, Pakistan also hosted Australia in a two-match rubber on the English soil in 2010 — with the honours shared 1-1 — after the England & Wales Cricket Board offered to host a postponed tour over security issues.

Year-wise list of Pakistan’s 13 Test victories in England:

1954 — by 24 runs at The Oval (drew four-match 1-1).

1982 — by 10 wickets at Lord’s (lost three-match 2-1).

1987 — by innings and 18 runs at Headingley (won five-match series 1-0).

1992 — by two wickets at Lord’s and by 10 wickets at The Oval (won five-match series 2-1).

1996 — by 164 runs at Lord’s and by nine wickets at The Oval (won three-match series 2-0).

2001 — by 108 runs at Old Trafford (drew two-match series 1-1).

2010 — vs Australia by three wickets at Headingley (drew two-match series 1-1).

2010 — vs England by four wickets at The Oval (lost four-match series 3-1).

2016 — by 75 runs at Lord’s and by 10 wickets at The Oval (drew four-match series 2-2).

2018 — by nine wickets at Lord’s (drew two-match series 1-1).

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2020