England banking on more joy in South Africa to prop up awful overseas record
England go into their final Test against South Africa having secured at least a drawn series, leading 2-1 with just the Johannesburg clash remaining.
That extends their strong recent record in South Africa, which remains an oasis in an overall weak away record.
Here, the PA news agency examines England’s recent record on their travels, and in South Africa in particular.
Since Andrew Strauss’ England team won the Ashes Down Under and added a series win in India, England have won only two of their 12 overseas Test series prior to their current engagement.
That run includes a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2013-14 and a 4-0 defeat Down Under in 2017-18, meaning they have lost nine away Ashes Tests and drawn one since their momentous win.
A similar 4-0 defeat in India and a loss and a draw in New Zealand meant they went three series, and over two years, without winning an overseas Test until they stopped the rot with a 3-0 win in Sri Lanka in November 2018.
Pakistan and the West Indies have also enjoyed series wins hosting England in that time, as well as a second identical success for New Zealand, while England have also drawn series away to the Black Caps, the Windies and Test minnows Bangladesh.
Happy hunting ground
The good news is England’s other series win away from home since 2013 came in South Africa, a 2-1 success with one draw in the 2015-16 season beginning on Boxing Day.
They won that opener in Durban, drew in Cape Town after Ben Stokes’ remarkable 258 from 198 balls, and wrapped up the series in Johannesburg before a thumping defeat in a dead rubber at Centurion.
The current series started at the latter venue, where South Africa kept up their formidable winning record, but England bounced back in style to win by 189 runs in Cape Town and by an innings in Port Elizabeth.
With just one game to go, it means they will keep up an unbeaten series record in South Africa dating back almost to the turn of the century.
Their last defeat on Proteas territory concluded on January 18, 2000, since when England have enjoyed a pair of 2-1 wins – the first in a five-match series in 2004-05 – and a 1-1 draw in 2009-10’s four-match encounter.