Jul 5, 2023 6:57 pm
Two successive defeats at Edgbaston and Lord’s have England staring down the barrel of back-to-back Ashes Series defeats to their great rivals.
And the new ‘Bazball’ attacking style of cricket, which has served them success in the past has now worked against them as they had squandered opportunities to win both Tests.
The first Test at Edgbaston was a two-wicket loss, followed by a 43-run defeat at Lord’s.
And it was the short ball policy, which led to England’s downfall in the first innings, as Ben Stokes’s side capitulated from 188-2 to 325 all out.
Use your brains, the Australians aren’t stupid, you could see that the main mode of dismissal was the pull shot, and getting the batsman out caught in the deep.
if any of the batsmen had been prepared just to duck or sway out of the way of those deliveries, it may have forced the Australian bowlers to lose their patience and change their lengths.
A big part of Test match batting is concentration, focusing on every ball, and most importantly, staying in your crease at least until the ball is declared dead.
The decision from Australia to not withdraw the appeal was fair enough, as it was just dozy cricket from the Yorkshirman after he had left the batting crease when the ball was not declared dead.
Although, the England Captain had other ideas.
“Taking the whole situation into consideration, the first thing to say is it is out,” “Jonny left his crease to come out and have the conversation in between overs like every batter does and I think if I was fielding captain at the time, I would have put a lot more pressure on the umpires to ask them around what their decision was around the over.”Then I would have had to have a real think around the spirt of the game and would I want to potentially win a game with something like that happening – and it would be no.”
Stokes: Sky Sports
You never want to see a game being decided because of those moments, and this was certainly one of those. However, that does not mean you switch off and wander out of your crease when the umpire hasn’t called the ball dead.
According to law 184.108.40.206 of the MCC, the ball is a dead ball occurs when is in the hands of either the ball or the wicketkeeper and both teams have ceased to regard it as in play, which is understandable considering what took place on Sunday
It has just been announced that England are expected to make three changes for the next Test at Headingley.
Mark Wood, Moeen Ali, and Chris Woakes are all set to replace Josh Tongue, James Anderson, and Ollie Pope, and the most surprising change for that XI is that Harry Brook will now be moved from number five to number three.
This is a bold decision from Stokes, as Brook had been performing so well at number five with an average of 74.67, so why would you want to move somebody who hasn’t even batted in that position in County Cricket?
I get the new positive, attacking approach of Bazball, but why not say to Joe Root “Look, I know you prefer batting at four, but in case we lose an early wicket, we need somebody to hold the innings together, as we continue to persist with Bazball, would you mind moving up one position higher?”
Or alternatively, the captain could promote himself to three, as it is the most valuable position to bat, and he along with Root are the most experienced batsman in the squad.
Coming back to Bazball, it’s ok to come out with an aggressive mindset with the bat, but pick the right ball to hit, and make the bowlers bowl where you want them to bowl.
Having an aggressive mindset doesn’t mean hitting fours and sixes off every ball, is about using the fundamentals of Test match batting in a positive way such as making sure you have a solid defence and rotating strike.
If you look at Ben Duckett’s 83 off 112 balls, it was an attacking inning, but it was also calculated, and that’s what England should have understood before taking the Bazball method.
There’s no doubt that England will continue to stick to Bazball, it’s just how they adapt to Australia’s tactics against them and whether they can be smart enough to drive home the advantage once they are on top, unlike the first two Tests. If they can do this at Leeds, then they will have a great chance of coming back into the Series.
Can England spark an Ashes revival, or will Australia retain the Urn?
Find out on World in Sport.