Bazball was born and thrived. The fear and repercussions of losing have dissipated, and players have responded accordingly.
Australia made West Indies look third-rate, but they didn’t use the Bazball method. They scored 3.9 off 598 in Perth and 3.7 off 511 in Adelaide – decent scoring rates, but not as good as ‘Pindi”s game: 657, 6.5, 506 on the day One in 75. Thankfully, the sun went down and Pakistan were spared another 15 overs. According to this scoring rate, England can score 600 goals a day!
Day one certainly sealed the victory, with captain Ben Stokes describing it as “England’s best ever away win” as the final wicket fell with less than 10 minutes remaining. It was a great win, no doubt, but due to injuries, Pakistan sent four newcomers, three of whom were bowlers.
Conditions are in favor of batting. Pakistan then started bowling very badly. The pace of outfield contributions would please the Augusta National greensman. No doubt the early onslaught unnerved the Pakistan rookies, so the England batsmen deserve credit for their intention and delivery.
The second test was similar, but different: The pitch gave the pitcher something, mainly spin, and the score and run rate were down, but the first and second innings were scored at 5.4 and 4.2, respectively. Stokes announced – generously to many – that Pakistan was on track to win after tea on day five.
England reversed course and won by more than 20 runs, narrowly winning Test cricket, luck favoring the brave in a very high-profile Test.
But can Bazball play against top bowlers on a pitch of give rather than take?
We may find out in the ashes next summer in the north. We may get a clue in February, as England take on New Zealand in the Across the Groove return series.
Australia chose to grind the Windies on the pitch for long periods of time, with relentless, low-risk but aggressive batting, playing the old-fashioned Test game, killing opponents’ spirits with zero compromise. Will the Australia captain and coaching staff demand the same freedom from David Warner against South Africa that McCallum and Stokes gave Zach Crawley against Pakistan?
England have had a pretty heavy Test schedule this year, so another innings and a chance for redemption could soon follow after a week of defeat.
Crowley is young and on the rise; Warner, by his own admission and simple observation, is nearing the end. He’s always been adventurous—it wasn’t a bat-and-mat brotherhood for him; furloughs were considered a necessary evil rather than a safe haven.
Given these parameters, is Bazball good or bad for him? Will Marnus Labuschagne give up a 50-ball 70 for a 200-ball century? Do not.
I don’t see Australians throwing away their cricketing DNA for a theory. England had the right ingredients for a Bazball cake in their young and reckless moment. Australia will have to wait for the next generation of Tests consisting of white-ball batsmen.
England were appreciated for occupying a high run rate. Their recent victories have been very un-British, and it’s all the more powerful for them to keep the draw out.
England’s prospects against the likes of Mitchell Stark, Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, Scott Bolan, Michael Neisser are excellent. I don’t expect Test cricket to resemble white ball cricket in any way, but if that does happen, then I’m pointing the finger at the fastest batsman in Test cricket history – his first two names could be from B start.
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