In a manner that surprised no one, England hunted down a paltry 378 to finish with their highest successful Test chase, against India at Edgbaston. The era of Baz-Ball has well and truly begun.
None of India’s bowlers – or a chirping Virat Kohli in the slips – could stop the JR-JB bandwagon in the second innings, as England cruised to a seven-wicket win, hunting down the total even before the second new-ball was available. Among a flurry of other records, it was the highest Test chase by England, the highest chase against India, and the first time in nearly 150 years of Test cricket, that a team had chased down 250+ in four consecutive Tests. There’s very little to not suggest that the mayhem will stop; England might well be rewriting how Test cricket is meant to be played, and consumed. If you’ve got any doubts, just look at how bored these three blokes look after pulling off the eighth biggest chase in Test history:
At the end of the game, Ben Stokes said a “part of me wanted India to get 450 to see what we’d do”. The sheer audacity. As for the the India camp, Rahul Dravid cheekily said he wasn’t sure what Baz-Ball meant in the post-match presser.
It turns out that Baz-Ball actually follows a very specific formula. Perhaps that explains why McCullum looked unfussed in the aftermath.
Every test this summer:
Annoying partnership feat oppo wk
Stokes gets out being a bit too aggressive
Oppo nearly bat England out of the game
England set about a silly chase
— Jon H (@127J_H) July 4, 2022
For some, it’s hard to come to terms with how good England might be now.
I would like to publicly apologise for criticising New Zealand for losing 3-0 to what turns out to be the greatest Test team of all time
— Ian Higgins (@1an_Higgins) July 5, 2022
India’s day, meanwhile, went from bad to worse. Despite having been despatched in double-quick time, it turned out they had actually bowled too slowly.
JUST IN: India has been fined 40 per cent of its match fee and penalised two World Test Championship points for a slow over-rate during the fifth Test against England.#ENGvIND
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) July 5, 2022
Cricket might be a team game – and especially so when it comes to McCullum’s England – but there’s still plenty of room for revelling in individual achievements, especially when they are this striking.
In November 2019, Virat Kohli had 27 Test hundreds and Joe Root had 16.
In July 2022, Virat Kohli has 27 Test hundreds and Joe Root has 28.#ENGvIND
— Yas Rana (@Yas_Wisden) July 5, 2022
Still, not all stats are created equal…
Dami Jonny Bairstow
Ruining Indi(y)a(h)’s summer during Casa Amor#ENGvIND
— Ben Gardner (@Ben_Wisden) July 5, 2022
How England celebrate this win remains to be seen, but a trip to Birmingham’s equivalent of Nottingham’s Mega Munch surely can’t be ruled out.
Make Ollie Pope wear his helmet cam for the post-game night out and take away, please.
— Alex White (@AlexBrianWhite) July 5, 2022
It’s only the first week of July, and already Bairstow is well set to break basically every record Root set last year.
don’t mind me, just going through all Jonny Bairstow accomplishments since the start of the year #EngvInd pic.twitter.com/oP3Ls0ZzL4
— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) July 5, 2022
Really though, the two are peas in a pod.
A month ago, neither Joe Root nor Jonny Bairstow had a fourth innings hundred in Test cricket. Now they have two each, as well as a 70+ red inker each in a successful chase.
— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) July 5, 2022
And between them, they are making England something quite special.
Test teams to chase 250+ four times in a year:
England in 2022
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) July 5, 2022
But the man most want to celebrate isn’t even English at all…
Bazball triumphing over Dravid, first edition. pic.twitter.com/zrtjYsSH0O
— Abhishek Mukherjee (@ovshake42) July 5, 2022