The ‘Bazball’ effect – A closer look at England’s Test resurgence

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England are celebrating a series win over New Zealand after a stunning run chase at Trent Bridge gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead with one Test to play.

After just one win in their previous 17 matches, it has been a remarkable start to a new era of men’s Test cricket.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the issues around the triumphant team.

Inside ‘Bazball’

Brendon McCullum enjoys England's remarkable win at Trent Bridge.
Brendon McCullum enjoys England’s remarkable win at Trent Bridge (Mike Egerton/PA)

Captain Stokes a hit

Two games is a small sample size, but the early signs around Ben Stokes’ captaincy offer huge cause for optimism. When Joe Root relinquished the role some felt the experiences of previous star all-rounders Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff could be a red flag, and others worried that the busiest player in the side was simply taking on too much. He has made the perfect first impression, though, showing some instinct for man management, filling his team-mates with confidence and batting selflessly for the cause. At the moment, it is hard to find a sceptic left standing.

Fringe players to the fore

Alex Lees has looked a new player in the last two Tests.
Alex Lees has looked a new player in the last two Tests (Mike Egerton/PA)

Spin situation not settled

Root remains England’s rock

Even when results started tailing off badly at the end of his captaincy, Root maintained an outstanding record with the bat. Any worries that his output might decline following his return to the ranks have been instantly banished, with a match-winning hundred at Lord’s followed by an imperious 176 this week. He is now back at top spot in the ICC’s world rankings and, if England want to do the same, they will need their most reliable performer to keep his hot streak going.

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