Beware of the new England test team

Opinion Tuesday 05/July/2022 19:40 PM
By: Anis Sajan, Vice Chairman, Danube group
Beware of the new England test team

England had come in to the last test match against India at Edgbaston playing the new brand of aggressive cricket chasing everything what New Zealand had set them up in the fourth innings. England won at Lords chasing 279, 299 at Nottingham and 296 at Leeds comfortably and when Ben Stokes was asked at the toss which he won at Edgbaston, he confidently said " We have done very well chasing."

And his decision to put India in paid dividends when James Anderson and Mathew Potts knocked off India's top five batsman for just 98 till Rishab Pant happens. He along with Ravindra Jadeja put on 222 to put India in the driver's seat at the end of first day and with the help of Jasprit Bumrah put on a respectable 416. And when India knocked off England in the first innings for just 284, Indian bowling attack looked potent and England would find it difficult chasing whatever India set England in the last innings.

India who at the end of third day were right on top leading by 275 and seven wickets in hand with Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishab Pant at the crease, any team would go on the backfoot and play defensive cricket to minimize the damage. But Ben Stokes and his fellow bowlers had other ideas. They wanted to win and not draw the game and kept on attacking the Indian batsman with three slips. In fact, the biggest gamble Stokes took was to bring on Jack leach to bowl to Rishab Pant who has taken him for plenty in the first innings and it paid off. Jasprit Bumrah created a world record hitting 35 runs in an over of Stuart Broad when he bowled short but England captain did not budge and used the same ploy and knocked off the tail with short pitch bowling and India who at one stage looked to bat England out of the game set England a target of 377 to chase in the fourth innings.

Mind you no team had chased against India above 350 and England had never chased higher than 359 but this was different England team. The New England team who did not care about losing. Their opening batsman Alex Lees and Zak Crawley came out all guns blazing and rattled the India bowlers putting on 107 in 21 overs and setting the cat among the pigeons in the Indian camp. And inspite of losing three wickets for two runs after the opening partnership, the pair of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow chased down the runs as it was walk in the park. They put on a remarkable 269 at 5 runs per over as if it was an ODI game and kept on coming at Indian bowlers and never allowed them to settle. It was not slogging but proper cricketing shots and India had no answer to the Yorkshire duo of Bairstow and Root who both hit hundreds to take their team home to another win. And boy what a win chasing 378 in 76.4 overs. Yes, Bairstow was dropped twice but fortune favors the brave and both the English batsman blew the Indian teams hopes of winning a series after 2007 and also robbed India of crucial World Championship points. This was like day light robbery and the Indian camp had no idea how to stop this.

When Ben Stokes was asked has this New England team found the line yet?? And he replied by saying by saying no "I wanted India to set us 450 and see what we could do." That's the new England team for you who under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum has clarity in the Indian dressing room which makes chasing totals as big as 375 easier. Five weeks ago, it would have been scary but not anymore for this new England team.