After a scintillating five days at Lord’s, the feel good factor is back with the England cricket team. Runs, wickets, and final day drama, the first test of the summer had it all. Hopefully a similar performance at Headingly can inspire an upturn in fortunes going forward.
Andrew Flintoff wa- oops, I mean Ben Stokes…was fully deserving of his man of the match award. He bowled well enough in the first innings to pick up two or three wickets, and his performance in the second more than brought back memories of Edgbaston, 2005. As well as all that, he smashed it everywhere, scoring a magnificent 92 first time round before following it up with a match-winning, record breaking hundred. If he can cut out his four-balls, I think we may have found our next all-rounder, ladies and gentlemen.
Alastair Cook and Joe Root also deserve a mention. The skipper was back to his best with his fantastic 150, while Root looks as good as anyone in world cricket right now. If Bell and Ballance can contribute at Headingly, the side will be in rather good shape. Stuart Broad was fantastic too, and Mark Wood is a very exciting prospect. Possibly Moeen Ali needs to improve if he’s going to cement an ashes spot ahead of Adil Rashid, but right now let’s just enjoy the feeling of a test victory done in true style.
Finally, the news broke this morning that Trevor Bayliss will be England’s coach for the summer. He’s certainly experienced enough, having coached Sri Lanka, Australia, New South Wales and the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders. As I understand it, he was in the reckoning before Peter Moores got the job second time round, with the ECB opting for a more familiar, English face. I hope he just allows the test team to go out and express itself (roll on another five day thriller). With the one day team, the outlook needs to change, and I’m hopeful that this is the man to do it.