Wisden’s writers predict the scoreline and the leading run-scorers and wicket-takers from either side in the upcoming England v Pakistan Test series.
England v Pakistan Test series scoreline
Ben Gardner, Wisden.com managing editor: England 2-1 Pakistan
Pakistan always give England a fair go, and it’s a long time since England have beaten them in a series; not since Andrew Strauss was captain, in fact. I think Joe Root’s team will, just, have the firepower to get across the line this time, but it will be close, and Babar Azam will score enough runs that if the quicks click even briefly Pakistan will be in the game.
Yas Rana, Wisden.com head of content: England 3-0 Pakistan
England have the advantage of already having played three Tests on the bounce so you’d expect them to hit the ground running quicker than Pakistan. Pakistan’s seam attack is exciting but it’ll be a tall order for both Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi to perfectly acclimatise to English conditions on their first Test tours of the country while Yasir Shah and Mohammad Abbas – match-winners for Pakistan on previous tours of England – haven’t been quite as successful in the Test arena since the 2018 series as they had been previously.
Taha Hashim, Wisden.com features editor: England 2-1 Pakistan
This could so easily have gone the other way; Pakistan have put up a serious challenge on their last two Test visits to the country, drawing 2-2 in 2016 and then 1-1 in 2018. England to just edge it this time, though.
Sam Dyer, Wisden.com staff writer: England 3-0 Pakistan
We saw England look a little rusty in the first Test against West Indies, but now they’re on a roll, and Pakistan will have to hit the ground running to be competitive. Azhar Ali’s team might sneak a victory in the second or third Test if one of the pitches is taking turn.
England’s leading run-scorer
BG: Joe Root
He looked back to his best with the bat in the second innings of the third Test, and his captaincy is ticking along smoothly enough that some of that weight should have eased.
YR: Ben Stokes
In the form of his life and as he showed in the second West Indies Test, has a growing appetite for big scores.
TH: Joe Root
Was relatively quiet in his two Tests against West Indies but finished with a busy 68 not out when setting up a declaration.
SD: Ben Stokes
He comfortably topped the run charts against West Indies, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Pakistan’s leading run-scorer
BG: Mohammad Rizwan
OK, Babar might well score plenty. But it’s Rizwan who’s looked in best touch in the warm-ups, and was the only batsman (apart from Yasir Shah) to offer the crown prince of Pakistan batting any real support in Australia. If England do make in-roads, he’ll have the relative luxury of combatting a slightly older ball too.
YR: Babar Azam
Since the start of 2018, no one in the world has scored more Test runs at a higher average than Babar. Pakistan’s hopes in this series lay firmly on his slight shoulders.
TH: Babar Azam
The prince has four tons in his last five Tests and hit a key half-century in the win at Lord’s two years back. A prolific series here will make him king.
SD: Babar Azam
There’s a strong argument that Babar should be placed alongside the fab four, and while he doesn’t have a huge amount of red-ball experience in England to draw upon he’s plenty good enough to make adjustments as necessary to succeed against a swinging, seaming ball.
England’s leading wicket-taker
BG: Chris Woakes
It was against Pakistan that Chris Woakes came of age as a Test cricketer in 2016, and, now in his prime and as good as pretty much anyone in England conditions, I’m backing him to take a bucketload.
YR: Chris Woakes
Stuart Broad rightly received the majority of the plaudits in the West Indies series but Woakes was quietly brilliant, too. He should be a shoo-in for the first Test and I fully expect him to extend his excellent home record against Pakistan (30 wickets at 16.93)
TH: James Anderson
May not even play all three Tests but historically a menace against Pakistan, averaging a lowly 19 in his 15 Tests against them.
SD: Stuart Broad
Broad’s on a charge having been left out of the first West Indies Test and I can’t see him stopping now.
Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker
BG: Mohammad Abbas
Like Jason Holder and Tim Murtagh before him, expect Mohammad Abbas to show that, when it comes to pace in England, less can be more. He’s taken hatfuls whenever he’s bowled here – or anywhere really – in Test and county cricket. Long may it continue.
YR: Shaheen Shah Afridi
It’s tempting to go for Abbas after how he performed on these shores in 2018 but Shaheen is the real deal. He’s quick, tall, bowls a probing full length, is less raw than Naseem and at 20, already has 86 international wickets at 23.47.
TH: Mohammad Abbas
Naseem and Shaheen make him the father-figure, and he’s done the job in England before with county and country.
SD: Mohammad Abbas
During Pakistan’s tour of Ireland and England in 2018, Abbas claimed 19 wickets in three Tests at an average of 13.26. He’ll enjoy English conditions as much as any of the England seamers and can be expected to give England’s top order a full examination.