How does England’s current run of Test success compare to the recent past?
England have already won the series and are looking to complete a 3-0 whitewash when they face Pakistan in the third Test starting on Saturday.
England took an unassailable 2-0 lead with a 26-run win in Multan and in the process bowled their opponents out for the 17th time in succession.
While most of the focus has been on England’s big-hitting batters in their run of eight wins in nine Tests under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, the bowlers have been similarly destructive – taking 10 wickets in every innings to date.
Here we look at their current run of success and how it compares to the recent past.
One out, all out
England’s new aggressive approach is geared entirely towards winning matches, a feat that cannot be achieved without bowling teams out – regardless of how quickly your batters score.
Dismissing New Zealand for 132 in the first innings of the new era, then, was an ideal launchpad and there has been no let-up since.
The Black Caps managed 285 in their second innings but lost the game, and even a first innings of 553 could not help them in the second Test.
8️⃣ wins from 9️⃣ Tests under the coach and skipper 👏
We're on to something good.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 12, 2022
England bowled them out for 284, 329 and 326 in the remaining innings of the series and chased targets of 277, 299 and 296 to win 3-0.
A national-record successful chase of 378 was set up by bowling India out for 416 and 245 in the delayed fifth Test to draw last summer’s series 2-2.
Stokes and McCullum’s one loss came by an innings in August’s first Test against South Africa at Lord’s, but even then they bowled the Proteas out for 326 – and then for under 200 in all four remaining innings of the series, winning by an innings themselves at Old Trafford and by nine wickets at the Oval.
Their form has continued in Pakistan, dismissing the hosts for 268 and 579 in Rawalpindi and 328 and 202 in Multan to win both games.
Long time coming
Not since 2004 had England previously taken all 10 wickets in 17 successive Test innings, in a sequence that also began in a home series against New Zealand following immediately on from the West Indies’ 751 for five declared and Brian Lara’s world record 400 not out.
The Kiwis managed scores of 386, 336, 409, 161, 384 and 218 as England won that series 3-0, while a rematch with the Windies finished 4-0 in England’s favour. The tourists made 416 in their first innings of the series – the only time they as a team passed Lara’s record individual score in Antigua.
South Africa were then dismissed for 337, 229 and 332, Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison with three wickets apiece in that 17th innings, before hanging on at 290 for eight as England came up two wickets short of victory in Durban and an 18th successive completed innings.
The most recent sequence longer than this was in 1978 and 1979, when England bowled out 26 successive opponents. That took in series wins against Pakistan and New Zealand, a 5-1 Ashes success in Australia and the first Test against India at Edgbaston, before centuries from Dilip Vengsarkar and Gundappa Viswanath saw the second drawn, with India 318 for four.
Who has done the damage?
Long-time new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad continue to lead the way under Stokes’ captaincy but they have had strong support.
Anderson leads the way with 35 wickets at an average of 17.85, including a five-wicket haul against India, as he continues his remarkable Test ageing curve.
Broad has taken 29 wickets at 27.17, with Jack Leach – who shared the new ball with Anderson in Multan and is the only frontline bowler aside from Stokes himself to feature in all nine games – next with 24.
Ollie Robinson and Matthew Potts have 20 wickets apiece in four and five Tests respectively, Robinson leading all England bowlers with an average of 16.35 helped by his four for 50 in Rawalpindi, while Stokes has 19.
Will Jacks took six for 161 on debut and Mark Wood has half-a-dozen of his own, while Joe Root has five wickets, Jamie Overton two and Matt Parkinson one.
In the Pakistan v England odds for the third Test, either Anderson or Robinson to take at least five first-wicket innings is available at 7/2.
Another option is 9/1 for England to win and Leach to be their top wicket taker in the first innings.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication