A 17-year wait for England has ended in a very fruitful way. They not only won the series, but also went on to sweep their opponents in their backyard.
Batting was the highlight in this series for England. However, their bowling effort has to be commended. The English bowlers picked up 59 wickets at an average of 31.5 as compared to 42.86 by Pakistan (46) bowlers.
To be precise, England’s approach while batting was the bigger difference. Throughout the series, they scored at 5.5 runs per over. Here is a look at some of the stats from this match as well as the series:
Clean sweep in their backyard
Being a non-sub-continent nation team, beating an Asian team in their backyard, is itself an overwhelming achievement, and England have achieved this feat.
As for Pakistan, this series would be the most humiliating one for them at home. In their history of Test cricket, this is the first time they have been whitewashed on home soil. Unfortunately, Babar Azam’s captaincy career has been tainted with this deflating record.
Adding salt to their wound, England managed to achieve this feat in a venue in which Pakistan had built a fortress. At the National Stadium Karachi, Pakistan had lost only two matches in 44 prior to the third Test, making this their third loss. Interestingly, two out of the three have come against England. The other one came in 2000.
In Tests, this was the fourth clean sweep affected by England in away Test series. By virtue of this, they now have affected the most white-washes in away series for a Team in Tests. Australia had three to their name. England’s other three white-wash came against South Africa in 1895/96, against New Zealand in 1962/63 and against Sri Lanka in 2018/19.
Blasting their way through
From the last six months, the biggest interest in Test cricket has been ‘Bazball’. At the start of the series, Stokes mentioned that there won’t be an attempt for a draw, even if it costs England a game or two. In this series it was evident by the way they scored their runs.
Throughout the series they maintained a run rate of 5.5. In a three or match series, no team before had scored at a run rate of above 5. Even in the first series under the mentorship of Brendon McCullum, against New Zealand, they had scored at a run 4.5. In fact, in all the three series (excluding India match) they have played, they have scored at a run rate of over four.
Not only this series, throughout the year, England have scored at a run rate of 4.13, which is the best for any team. Adding further, they have hit 89 sixes this year, which is also the most by a team in a calendar year of Tests. Taking Tests to another level!
England’s switcheroo in 2022
The year 2022 has been a turnaround year for England in Tests. In the year 2021, England had played the same number of Tests as 2022 (15), but had won four Tests and lost nine. In this century, in a year in which they had played 10+ Tests, their win/loss ratio of 0.444 in 2021 was their worst.
But, they have turned it on big time this year. In those 15 Tests, England lost only three and won nine. Overall, their nine wins this year is the joint-second most wins for them in Tests. In 2010 as well, they had nine wins in 14 matches. Their best year in Tests was in 2004, when they won 11 out of 13 without a loss.
This year, under Stokes captaincy, England have won nine out of the 10 matches played. Their only loss under his captaincy came against South Africa in the Lord’s Test.
Harry Brook seizes the opportunity
In the absence of Jonny Bairstow, Brook was confirmed to get a match in all three matches. The best thing was that he made use of it all and cemented his spot irrespective of Bairstow's presence or absence.
In all the three matches, Brook smashed a century. Throughout the series, he scored 468 runs at an average of 93.6 and a strike rate of 93.4. With three centuries, Brook joined an elite list of two other England players to hit three tons in a series in Asia. Ken Barrington and Sir Alistair Cook against India in 1961 and 2012, are the other two.
More to his glory, Brook is also the third England batter after Barrington in 1967 against Pakistan and Graham Gooch in 1990 against India to hit three 100s in a three-match series. Barrington and Gooch achieved this feat in the home series.
Abrar Ahmed, a bright prospect for the future
In Tests nowadays, leg spinners are hardly found in a team. Since the retirement of the legendary Shane Warne, the void for leg spinners is mostly filled by Pakistan in Tests. Danish Kaneria for some time, Yasir Shah and now Abrar Ahmed.
In his first two matches, Abrar managed to puzzle the England batters. However, his efforts weren’t enough to help Pakistan win the series. His 17 wickets in the first two matches are the most for a Pakistani bowler in Tests. No other bowler has more than 15 wickets in the first two matches.
A young talent for England in the spin department
It was a memorable debut for Rehan Ahmed. After becoming the youngest Test cricketer to debut for England, he went on to become the youngest ever debutant to pick a five-wicket haul.
In the second innings of the third Test, he broke through the middle order of Pakistan and derailed them from 164/3 to 216/10. At the age of 18 years and 126 days (start of match day considered), he pipped Pat Cummins (18 years and 193 days). Adding further, he became the first ever England teenager to bag a five-wicket haul in international cricket.
A costly series for Zahid Mahmood
Before Abrar, Zahid Mahmood earned his cap. Unlike his partner, Mahmood had to endure a horrendous series.
In the two matches he played, he bowled 62.3 overs and bagged 12 wickets. Just the wickets don’t tell the story. In those overs, he conceded at an economy of 6.94. Among bowlers with 50+ overs in a series, his economy is the worst for any.