Iit is 11 years ago that England beat India 4-0 and climbed to No. 1 on the world test rankings. Some of us may remember that India was used a little psychologically to win the World Cup a few months earlier, that we integrated a new coach, Duncan Fletcher, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook got grandfather double hundred and James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann were formidable. It was the last time England swept a series longer than two Tests, and remarkably enough, Broad (but not Anderson) will be there in Leeds this morning and try to do it again.
England are up for grabs after Trent Bridge, but we should recognize how uncertain the line they are going is. Had Jonny Bairstow had a hole in his long leg when he greeted Matt Henry after tea on the final day, many of the same people who showered him with praise would have coated him in vitriol. When he tried to hit England to victory, as coach and captain had instructed, Saturday night at Lord’s, he was ‘stupid’. When it came out in Nottingham, he was a ‘hero’ who ‘ripped up the conventions’. Whose conventions? Not his own. We should keep in mind that there will be exciting successes when they come across the high thread, and moments where they will slip and fall off. There is no one without the other for a team in this rebuilding phase that has been encouraged to play so uninhibited.
Jamie Overton is a welcome addition to XI. I thought Matty Potts bowled very well at Lord’s and in the second innings of the second test, but having a bowler at 90km / h at one end gives the captain the chance to bowl properly himself and exposes the opponent to pace (‘as fire ‘) and jump.
NZ welcome their captain Kane Williamson back, who should return after Michael Bracewell, while Neil Wagner should be the man to replace the injured Kyle Jamieson.
The cast is imminent. We’ll bring you the team news once it’s confirmed by the captains.