The much-awaited test series between Pakistan and England kicked off on Wednesday. The two teams are already in the field for the first test match of the tour in Manchester. The remaining two battles will be fought at Southampton. Pakistan team starts its campaign on the back of much debate around how Pakistan has historically done well in England compared to other teams. In terms of series results since 1987, Pakistan has the best results among all test-playing nations. And in terms of matches won, Pakistan’s ratio is lower than only Australia and England.

Nevertheless, an important factor to consider here is that 8/10 wins for Pakistan since 1987 have come at Lord’s. And in the ongoing series, Pakistan is not playing any match at their favourite ground. This fact alone dwarfs Pakistan’s historical record in England—making hopes based on Pakistan’s excellent track record meagre.

A big concern for the Pakistani team is lack of competitive cricket since February this year. The lack of match sharpness by Pakistan thus gives England a clear advantage that just came out of a hard-fought three-match test series with the West Indies. However, this advantage is neutralised due to COVID-19 precautions—the Pakistani side landed in England way ahead of the start of the series. As a result, Pakistan’s players got the much-needed time to adjust to the English conditions.

Quite apart from historical comparisons, the most critical factor that remains relevant to Pakistan’s chances of winning in the series is the ability of Pakistani batsmen to tackle swing and seam. With a young fiery bowling attack and two quality spinners, Pakistan can pose problems for the relatively inexperienced English batting line up. Therefore, Pakistan stands a good chance provided the top and middle order put runs on the board. England of late has been beating teams that visit them, and Pakistan’s unbeaten record on England’s soil since 2010 should make for an exciting contest.