Monday, December 5, 2022

New England

Whether England's 74-run win over Pakistan was one of the greatest Test of all time is for future generations to decide. What is no longer up for discussion is that under Ben a New England is being built with players committed to redefining how Test cricket is played.

The stage for this "great" Test was a flat and true Rawalpindi pitch favouring bat over ball and an inevitable draw.

Ben and his England team tore-up that particular script.

Batting first and from the opening over England sought the advantaged and plundered quick runs. They finished day one on 506-4 - a record for Tests. The onslaught continued into day 2 with the innings ending on 657 all out.

A more conservative approach from the Pakistan batters was justified, their innings closing just 78-runs behind.

Second time around, England were again greedy for quick runs. At tea on the fourth day they had scored 264-7 in a little under 36 overs.

After accumulating 921 runs in two inning, at the fastest rate in Test cricket, Ben declared the innings closed, enticing Pakistan to chase the runs. This was an offer the batters accepted.

As Pakistan began their second innings all four results were possible, but in the minds of Ben and the England team only a win was probable.

Bouncers were deployed, bowlers changed and fields tinkered with - Ben refused to let the Test drift.

Pakistan were on target but wickets were falling. A Pakistan win was taken from the equation and the battle was now between England and the fading light.

With the sun setting Jack Leech, with the new ball, trapped Naseem Shah to secure an historic win and opened a discussion on ranking the greatness of this match in the all-time standings of great Tests.

As for Ben, former England captain Nassar Hussain satisfied himself that he had seen "one of the greatest exhibitions of Test captaincy."

(Photo by Dan Mullan Getty Images for ECB)

From Twitter

Ben's latest Tweet

Visit @BenStokes38