Last Updated: January 29, 2024, 12:24 IST
England celebrate after beating India on Day 4 of Hyderabad Test. (AP Photo)
England have taken an early lead over India in the five-match series while sticking to their ultra-aggressive approach in Tests
England have put to bed speculations on their ultra-aggressive approach in Test cricket falling flat in Indian conditions where spinners dictate the outcome. The Ben Stokes-led side outclassed India despite being pushed to the brink in Hyderabad as they registered a 28-run win to take 1-0 lead in the five-Test series on Sunday.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain says the result should come as a wake-up call for India but predicted them to bounce back.
He added England have proven ‘Bazball’ can succeed in India.
“India will probably rue their first innings. They got 436 but actually they could have got a lot more if not for some sloppy dismissals. They will come back. They are a very fine side and history tells you it will be tough for England here,” Hussain wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
“But it is a wake-up call for India as England have shown Bazball can work in these conditions. It shows they (England) have great self-belief. They have great belief in the way they are playing the game and do things their own way. They don’t worry about outside noise, that other people would have selected other cricketers, that people thought they should have had warm-up matches,” he added.
Hussain further praised England’s ‘stubbornness’ for not shunning the tactics despite India marching ahead in the opening two days of the contest.
After bowling out England for 246, India responded with 436-all out to take 190-run lead. However, Ollie Pope led a strong reply in their second dig with a mammoth 196 to set a target of 231 which proved sufficient.
“What I like about them is their stubbornness. If you doubt them, they’ll double down on it and go even more stubborn. I think that is a good thing because if you’re constantly listening to all the noise, all that’s written and said, you flicker from one theory to another,” Hussain wrote.
“They faced a 190-run deficit in the first innings but, against the [high-quality] spinners in the opposition, Ollie Pope then played one of the truly remarkable innings we have ever witnessed,” he added.
Hussain pointed out debutant Tom Hartley passed the test with flying colours despite the early setback that saw him leak 131 runs in 25 overs during the first innings.
Hartley went on to take a seven-for in the second innings and won player-of-the-match award for his effort.
“Then you had Tom Hartley, who struggled in the first innings, taking seven wickets with his skipper Stokes backing him to the hilt. When you’re off the field, I think you forget the pressure to step up in standard when you’re making your Test debut,” Hussain wrote.
“Nerves get to you and in that first innings Hartley did not bowl particularly bowl well. His variation in length would have disappointed him. So credit has to go to him for the second innings. In the cauldron of a Test match in India, when the whole world is talking about you and saying, ‘are you a Test match cricketer?’, to come out and bowl the way he did, it was not just about ability but about mental strength as well. He showed he is very strong mentally,” he added.