I11 years since England beat India 4-0 and climbed to number one in the World Test Rankings. Some of us may remember that India spent quite a bit psychologically from winning the World Cup two months ago, incorporating new head coach Duncan Fletcher, Ian Bell, Kevin Petersen, Alastair Cook double hundreds and James Anderson, Stuart Broad. Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann were great. It was the last time England swept a streak longer than two Tests, and remarkably, Broad (but not Anderson) will be there in Leeds this morning trying to do it again.
England is located on a mountaintop after the Trent Bridge, but we must admit how dangerous the line they walk is. If Johnny Bairstow had hid himself in his long leg when Matt took Henry after tea on the last day, many of the same people who showered him with praise would have covered him with cash. When he tried to beat England for victory, as instructed by coach and captain, on Saturday night at Lords, he was “stupid”. When he appeared in Nottingham, he was a ‘champion’ who ‘torn up conventions’. of the conventions? Not his. We must bear in mind that there will be exciting successes when they make their way through the high wire and the moments in which they slip and fall. There is no one without the other for a team in this rebuilding phase which has been encouraged to play undisturbed.
Jamie Overton is a welcome addition to the eleventh. I thought Matty Potts threw well at Lords and in the second rounds of the second test, but having a 90mph throw at one end gives the captain the opportunity to run properly by himself as well as expose the opponent to speed (‘like fire’) and bounce bounce.
New Zealand welcomes the return of captain Ken Williamson who should be back for Michael Brasswell while Neil Wagner should be the man to replace the injured Kyle Jamison.
The lottery is imminent. We will update you with team news as soon as the captain confirms.