After their four-wicket defeat to the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, England have now lost the opening Test in the last five series they’ve played (not including last summer’s one-off game against Ireland). Max Parry revisits the other four defeats, beginning in January of last year.
England were skittled for 77 after West Indies put up a first-innings total of 289. A hundred from wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich and a double ton from skipper Jason Holder put the hosts 627 runs ahead when they declared on day three. Roston Chase then took 8-60 as England fell a mammoth 382 runs short of their target to lose inside four days. They went on to lose the next Test and the series 2-1.
Fortress Edgbaston was breached as Tim Paine’s Australia, who were one stage 122-8, overturned a first-innings deficit to romp home by 251 runs. Steve Smith returned to Test cricket after his ball-tampering ban with a rescue-job 144 that took Australia to 284 in their first innings, but by the time it was their turn to bat again England were 90 in front. Another hundred from Smith and a ton from Matthew Wade turned the tables to give the Aussies a match-winning lead of 397 towards the end of day four. A meek chase followed on day five as England were bowled out before tea for 146. The series was drawn 2-2 and Australia retained the Ashes.
The most comprehensive defeat on this list, England went down by an innings and 65 runs in the first Test of last year’s two-match series. In very batter-friendly conditions England only mustered 353 in their first innings. Their total was brought into context when Kane Williamson’s side had a go on the surface, scoring 615 before declaring, with BJ Watling making 205 and Mitchell Santner 126. A tepid batting display followed as Root’s men failed to make New Zealand bat again, bowled out for a meagre 197. The next Test was drawn on a lifeless pitch as England lost the series 1-0.
After South Africa batted first, Quinton de Kock top-scored with 95 to take the Proteas to 284. Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada led the charge as England were then dismissed for 181, before South Africa then eked up to 272 – a lead of 375 – with runs from Rassie van der Dussen (51) and Big Vern (46). England began their chase promisingly before losing their last seven wickets for just 64 runs. South Africa won the Test by 107 runs but would lose the series, as Root’s team came back to claim a 3-1 victory.