England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord's
July 12, 2006
England's chance to reverse a trend
A stats lowdown on the forthcoming Test series between England and Pakistan
Inzamam-ul-Haq was in awesome form the last time the two sides played
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In the early days, an England-Pakistan series meant a huge opportunity for England to rack up the wins, but in the last 22 years, it's mostly been one-way traffic in the opposite direction. In the eight series that the two teams have played since 1983-84, Pakistan have won six and drawn one; England's only moment of glory during this period came in 2000-01, when they snatched a twilight win at Karchi to seal the series 1-0.
Both teams have had mixed fortunes at Lord's, the venue of the first Test. England and Pakistan have each won three Tests, with the remaining five matches being drawn. The likelihood of a decisive result this time is high: only one of the last six Tests between the two sides here has ended in a stalemate.
Pakistan's pace attack has been hit by injuries, but the presence of Danish Kaneria should still give England plenty of cause for worry, and Pakistan plenty of encouragement. In the last three series between the two sides in England (1992, 1996 and 2001), England's batsmen have floundered against spinners, especially in the second innings. In 1992 and 1996, Mushtaq Ahmed lorded over them, taking 18 wickets at 13.33 in the five second innings. Kaneria only averages 40.86 in his five Tests against England, but these stats might be enough reason for Kaneria to be licking his chops in anticipation.
Pakistan spinners v England in England since 1992
As the table below shows, Marcus Trescothick and Ian Bell have handled Kaneria much better than the rest of England's batsmen. Kevin Pietersen has had plenty of success against Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan - can he now improve his stats against Kaneria as well?
Kaneria versus England batsmen (since 2002)
England's will look to Harmison and Hoggard for wickets, but both were handled quite easily by Pakistan's three main batsmen - Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan - on England's last tour to Pakistan in 2005-06. Inzamam scored 151 runs against the two and was dismissed just once, Yousuf hammered them for 141 without being dismissed, while Younis made 51 and was dismissed once each by both.
Inzamam will clearly be the most feared batsman for England. The last time he played a series against England, he scored two hundreds and three fifties in five innings and finished with an average of 107.75. Overall, Inzamam averages 58.78 against England, but that figure comes down to 44.14 when playing in England. Yousuf, too, has an excellent record against England, averaging 59.15, but in England it drops to just 21.25.
England's most experienced batsman, Marcus Trescothick, on the other hand, has underperformed slightly against Pakistan. Compared to a career average of 45.15, he averages 40.53 against Pakistan. Flintoff, out of the first Test but likely to return for the remainder of the series, needs to redress his stats against Pakistan too, averaging just 20.83 with the bat against them.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo