NASSER HUSSAIN: This is how England should beat! Toporder is reaping the benefits of going back to basics against India and Joe Root has taken his game to another level
- England’s top order went back to basics and reaped the rewards against India
- The hosts finished day two with a 245 point lead over the visitors of Virat Kohli
- Haseeb Hameed helped ease the pressure on Rory Burns with his fast pace
- Dawid Malan Shows Early Promise As Joe Root Has Taken To Another Level
It was quite right that England should strike so well and in such an orthodox manner here, the day after cricket lost one of the great stylists in Ted Dexter.
Dexter believed in the fundamentals and technique of the game, hitting sideways, and it was a pleasure to see the English batsmen play that way in this third Test.
Yes, they still have Rory Burns doing it a little differently and, yes, cricket has always had people with different quirks. That’s what makes it such a special game.
England’s top order demonstrated how to do it as they headed back to base in Leeds
But Burns should be the exception rather than the rule. When questioning England’s techniques in the wake of the defeat to New Zealand at Edgbaston earlier this season, I asked if all the great batsmen of the past were wrong?
Was the way England beat a better way to do it? The side was full of batsmen with back lifts going in all directions or legs going out of the way of the ball. Others kept watch on the sidewalk. Together they tried to reinvent the wheel.
And before this match, the difference in technique between England’s top orders and India’s openers in Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had been striking. India played the ball late from the side, in stark contrast to England.
The hosts have been undone by tearing up the rulebook, but have taken an orthodox approach
Haseeb Hameed helped ease the pressure on Rory Burns with his fast pace on day one
But this is how England’s batting should be, at least until India gave itself a little hope by taking five wickets in the final session.
The return of Haseeb Hameed has given England an opener that strikes in the tried and trusted manner and he has had a good few days after his fight at Lord’s.
I loved the way Hameed played the ball late here, as you could see by his defense when the ball landed in front of his feet, like when Kane Williamson hits for example.
He did cave in a bit on Thursday and that was the result of India bowling a bit fuller at him at first and preventing him from doing his drives. Then they came up short. Hameed will have to think about that as they stopped him from scoring points on day two.
But the rhythm of the openers was perfect. Hameed and Burns pressured India with their pace and run between the wickets, especially on the first day.
However, India managed to slow him down on day two, a riddle he will try to solve
Before this match, when Dom Sibley was next to Burns, it was all about taking the fold. This allowed India’s bowlers to get into a rhythm. Hameed isn’t exactly Matthew Hayden, but his slight increase in pace helped Burns take the pressure off.
Dawid Malan has always looked like a good player and he showed it on Thursday. We shouldn’t get too giddy about him, because on a pitch with a little more zip and sideways movement, he might still be worried outside the stump. But he knows and understands his game and England’s top three look solid for his presence.
Still at the center of it all, of course, is Root, who has become an absolute machine. He’s just so busy with the fold all the time and always looking to score points. He is putting on an absolute display of world class batting this year.
But even Root has slightly changed his technique this season to take him to an even higher level, just going back and forth instead of back and forth. And that cleared the offside beautifully for him, especially in the third man to point area.
Dawid Malan showed he is a good player but we mustn’t get too dizzy at this early stage
Joe Root has taken his game to another level with another masterful century for England
We soon forgot all those worries that Root isn’t turning half a century into big scores now. He really put that into bed and it wasn’t until he started cramping on Thursday that India found a way through him. And, as I said before this test, he continues to be a phenomenal ambassador for our game. Now he has given himself a great chance to win the Test that would take him past Michael Vaughan’s record.
First, a bowling lineup without so many top bowlers sacked India for 78. Then England followed it up with their most impressive batting performance for some time.
We are lucky enough to watch a team from England with Jimmy Anderson at the bottom of the lineup and Joe Root at the top. It may go on for a long time.