England will be hoping to begin their three-match Test series with a victory to break away from their recent trend of losing the first Test in a series. Even though the Joe Root-led side staged a comeback against the West Indies in their recently-concluded series, they know luck cannot be the same against Pakistan.
Against the West Indies, England had lost the first Test at Rose Bowl, Southampton, before they won the next two matches in Manchester to win the Wisden Trophy.
Before that, England had lost the first Tests of the four-match series against South Africa, two-match series against New Zealand and in the Ashes last year. Overall, England have lost eight of their opening Tests in the last 10 series.
Even though they were able to restrict a negative result in all of the series in 2019 after staging epic comebacks in most of them, except against New Zealand, their recent history against Pakistan has been a different story altogether.
England have not won a home Test series against Pakistan in over a decade. Their last series win against the Asian side had come way back in 2010 in the infamous series which was overshadowed by the match-fixing scandal of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir.
It is a statistic they are all well aware of, with in-form England pacemen Chris Woakes admitting, “I’d love to be able to put my finger on it and I’m sure the management and the team would as well.
“It’s not coincidence but it’s almost, it is just a coincidence that we can keep losing that first Test match.
“But we want to put that right,” he added, with the eyes of the global cricket community set to turn to Manchester in the absence of any other major international fixtures outside of England amid the pandemic.
In the last two home series against Pakistan in 2016 and 2018, England had failed to win either of them as both ended in draw. However, with a Pakistan team that don’t have any match-practice going into the series this year, England will be hoping to carry forward their winning momentum from the series against West Indies.
With inputs from AFP (accessed via PTI)