‘Bazball’ gets a desi makeover

21 February,2024 06:41 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Srijanee Majumdar

All it took was a single session for India to polish off the entire English squad on Day 4 of the Rajkot Test and record a `Himalayan` 434-run triumph

Rohit Sharma (L) and Ravindra Jadeja (C) walk back to the pavilion after their victory at the end of the third Test cricket match. Pic/AFP

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Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal donned the glittering cap of saviour twice in the ongoing five-match Test series, with two situation-defying double hundreds in both Visakhapatnam and Rajkot to help India fight past a feisty opponent in a dramatic overturn of the English's flamboyant brand of cricket, fondly known as ‘Bazball'.

Within the intricate tapestry of their ‘Bazball' narrative, a profound transformation thus unfolded, reshaping the very foundations of its dynamics. And no wonder skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum flatly disapproved. This was nowhere more evident than in the post-match presentation ceremony where McCullum was quoted as saying by BBC Sport, "...we'll turn the page and go quids in again trying to put India under pressure. Hopefully, in seven or eight days, we'll be talking about how exciting it is to be heading into a decider."

Also Read: ‘Light at the end of the tunnel'

Talking of pressure, all it took was a single session for India to polish off the entire English squad on Day 4 and record a 'Himalayan' 434-run triumph, their biggest-ever (in terms of runs) in Test cricket. Finished as a contest once India skittled out England for 122 in merely 39.4 overs, the third Test stretched for a while less than it should have, purely because ‘Bazball' belonged every bit to the Men in Blue.

The erstwhile ascendancy that bestowed an aura of invincibility upon England in the series opener now appears overturned, giving way to a paradigm where uncertainty and challenges loom large, despite McCullum's insistence. The humongous Test win and the 2-1 series lead is sweet revenge for India over an opponent that beat them in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup by ten wickets in completely different conditions two years ago.

Besides Jaiswal, the man who fittingly put India in command was Ravindra Jadeja, as the classy left-arm spinner drew batters into a vortex of uncertainty with every delivery. Racing to another fifer at the cost of just 41 runs, the Jamnagar lad stamped complete dominance in his home ground once more.

The symphony of skill, precision, and strategic acumen that Jadeja orchestrated in Rajkot elevated spin bowling to a realm of artistry rarely witnessed in red-ball cricket. While he terminated the farcical proceedings by foxing most of England's middle-order, pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah ensured India didn't have to wait long for the first breakthrough by prevailing over a helpless Zak Crawley.

But come what may, this series has been mostly about India's batting and, even for an average cricket fan, it is impossible not to come to that conclusion. Not only have they produced record-breaking feats, they have done so in an ultra-aggressive, impossible-to-ignore style. Perhaps that's why, England now knows why a young and unassuming Jaiswal can be a sight for sore eyes for them.

Also Read: Young guns and glory

One possibly could not have had enough of those inevitable and archetypal pulls that made his innings such a compelling watch. Perhaps, a message for other top-order batters on the safe execution of shots while under pressure to perform! The first bit of surprise is perhaps that India has outperformed with the bat in the absence of more experienced players like Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. On paper, India's batting attack was widely thought to be weaker than England partially because of an extensive injury list they were having to work around. Yet on every major metric, they have been better than their opponents.

"Obviously it's a very good feeling to win a game like that and especially with such a young team as well. We had two debutants (Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel) and not a lot of Test matches amongst the playing eleven as well. A lot of these guys are learning from the experience that they're having in the middle. We got to learn a lot about how we played in Hyderabad and then in Vizag when we won," captain Rohit Sharma told the media after India's win. "A lot of credit to these young boys who have come in and showed a lot of character. Looks like they actually belong here and they want to stay here as well."

Will England's scales of fortune under ‘Bazball' tilt in unpredictable directions once more? If it does, ‘Bazball' will no longer be a predictable script of triumphs, at least for the English.

(With quotes from PTI)

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Yashasvi Jaiswal ben stokes brendon mccullum rohit sharma ravindra jadeja India vs England India vs England Test series test cricket cricket news sports news Sports Update
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