It’s fair to say England have been revolutionised by new captain Ben Stokes and his head coach Brendon McCullum.
Bazbal has transformed England from an average Test side into a relentless one.
The gumption and audacity to just go for it has been injected into the five-day side and they’re playing some of the best Test match cricket anybody has ever seen.
Here’s Ben Stokes’ era so far as captain of the England Test team in numbers.
Runs for your life
England scored 5,594 runs in the three full Test series they’ve played – as well as the singular match against India – under Stokes and McCullum and have conceded 5,410
On the face of it this stat seems relatively unimportant; teams often only score one or two more runs than their opposition in a match where all 40 wickets are taken.
However, as was England’s dominance in Pakistan and the “innings and runs” loss to South Africa balanced with one of their own, it has meant England have somehow scored nearly 200 more runs than their opposition this year.
The highest number of runs scored by England in a Test match was the 921 scored in the opening Pakistan match in Rawalpindi – the hosts scored 847 of their own in that opener.
This is followed by the 838 scored in the second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge and the 662 against India at Edgbaston.
England’s lowest number of runs? The 288 in their win against South Africa in the deciding match of that series at the Oval – that’s a whole 26 runs short of the total England managed when they lost to the same opposition by an innings a fortnight earlier.
Across the ten Tests England have played since the appointments of Stokes and McCullum, they have taken 190 wickets and conceded 145.
The most wickets taken in the 10 Stokes-era matches have come from 40-year-old James Anderson (34) followed by Jack Leach (31), Stuart Broad (29) and Ollie Robinson (21).
Rehan Ahmed’s seven wickets in the third Test in Pakistan rounded off a superb debut from the 18-year-old – he’s the youngest international cricketer to take a five-for on debut and has already become one of England’s top five Test wicket-taking leg-spinners in the last 50 years – Adil Rashid leads that bunch.
Leach recorded two of England’s six five-for’s this year, both of which came in the same match against New Zealand Robinson got one and Will Jacks got the other won with his six wickets against Pakistan in the first Test.
Root has taken seven wickets under Ben Stokes – five of which came in Pakistan – while all of Mark Wood’s eight came on the sub continent too.
England have enjoyed a number of impressive partnerships in their last 10 Tests with nine of their matches seeing their highest partnership surpass 100 runs – the outlier was the innings loss to South Africa at Lord’s.
Root featured in the opening two – 120 not out with Ben Foakes against New Zealand and 187 with Ollie Pope against the same opposition – before Bairstow partnered Jamie Overton in a 241-run stand against the Black Caps and then his former captain Root in a sensational 269 not out stand against India.
Versus South Africa, Broad and Stokes could muster just 55 runs before the captain joined Foakes for a stand of 173 in the second Test – the final match saw openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley stand for 108 runs.
On the subcontinent, Ben Duckett and Crawley stood for 223 runs while the second Test saw Stokes and sensation Harry Brook stand for 101 runs. The final Test – which concluded this morning – saw a stand of 117 between Foakes and Brook.
Star of the crease
Player of the match is often a difficult award to hand out given the variety of ways players can shine in a Test match.
In their last 10 matches, Bairstow, Robinson and Brook have picked up the gong twice – the batter/keeper against New Zealand and India, the bowler against South Africa and Pakistan and the batter twice against Pakistan – while Root, Leach and Stokes have taken the prize once each.
Only Kagiso Rabada has denied England a clean sweep of awards with the pacer outshining everybody for South Africa in the innings win at Lord’s.
|Series||Result||Runs scored||Runs conceded||Players of the match|
|New Zealand (H)||Won|
|1,914||1,909||Root, Bairstow, Leach|
|India (H, Test carried over)||Win||662||661||Bairstow|
|South Africa (H)||Won|
|957||943||Rabada, Stokes, Robinson|
|2,001||1,897||Robinson, Brook, Brook|