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HomeAshes3 ways England can make a comeback in the 2023 Ashes

3 ways England can make a comeback in the 2023 Ashes



Last Updated on 11 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket Opinion: 3 ways England can make a comeback in the 2023 Ashes | Can England pull off the incredible and win the Ashes?

England find themselves in a horrible position after the first two Ashes Tests. Australia are just a draw away from holding the Ashes for the fourth straight series, which would be a hammer blow for England given the hype around their new Bazball style.

Right from controversies to some splendid cricketing action, the Ashes have lived up to the hype and expectations so far. On that note, let us take a look at what England can do in the coming few weeks to inspire a comeback in the Ashes; the kind not seen since the 1930s.

What can England do to inspire a comeback in the 2023 Ashes?

1. Find balance between Bazball style & playing the situation

To begin with, England must find a balance between their new aggressive brand of Test cricket and the old, orthodox way of playing red-ball cricket. How much Bazball is too much Bazball is the question they should be asking themselves. An excessive amount of anything is not ideal, and the same applies in this case.

Prioritising entertainment over actually winning games is a poor mentality. Right from the first day declaration in the first Test to succumbing to Australia’s short ball tactics in the second, England have lost opportunities to gain an advantage simply in order to live up to their brand of cricket.

There will always be a difference in opinion regarding the way England is currently playing Test cricket. Many believe that it is taking out the originality from the format. The format that was supposed to be the ultimate test of a batter’s patience and resilience is now being played based on the philosophy that attack is the best form of defence.

However, if they can combine their aggressiveness in the field and their intentful batting with some situation-based play, England could potentially be developing the recipe for a revolutionary approach in the longest format of the game.

What this means is that there is nothing wrong about Bazball. What is concerning is that the team could lose grip of things from convincing positions just because the batters are looking to live up to their brand of cricket.

In the second Test, it was almost as if England was gifting wickets to Australia. It seemed as if England would throw hands at anything and everything just to maintain that run-rate.

The likes of Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook and Ben Duckett got out in ugly fashion trying to put the short balls away. There is nothing wrong in putting the bad deliveries away, but if one tries to go big on good, threatening deliveries in a five-day Test with obvious traps set, it is obvious that they have lost the ego battle.

Ben Stokes has mentioned about the freedom he gives to his batters. However, there must also be some accountability for their carelessness.

Even a boundary per over does the job for England and fulfills the goal that they aim to achieve in this Stokes-McCullum era.

Thus, in the last two Test matches, England should look to play according to the situation. With the kind of immensely talented batters that they have, some sensible cricket can do wonders.

2. Better utilise variety in their bowling attack

In the absence of Jack Leach, England must utilise the variety they do have in their bowling arsenal. Josh Tongue showed good signs at Lord’s, providing Stokes with a point of difference. The same will apply to Mark Wood, who has been picked for the third Test.

England also need to manage James Anderson well as he can still influence the series in the final two Tests. The 41-year old has been rested for Headingley considering he has not made significant impact so far, taking just three wickets across the two Tests. Chris Woakes, who offers a lot more with the bat, and Mark Wood, adds balance and variety to the lineup.

Woakes last played a Test for England in March, 2022 in the away series against West Indies. In his last 12 Tests, he has notched 35 wickets, averaging just a little under three wickets per game. With the bat, he has scored 497 runs in his last 10 Tests, at an average of almost 36.

On the other hand, there is England’s leading wicket taker from the last Ashes waiting to get a chance this time around. Wood grabbed a whopping 17 wickets in four Ashes Tests last year. He last wore the whites for England against Pakistan in December, 2022. In the two Tests he played against Pakistan, he took eight wickets on Pakistani pitches that did not have a lot on offer for the pacers.

With 27 wickets in eight Tests against Australia, Wood could prove to be a great inclusion to England’s playing XI.

3. Get the best of Harry Brook at number three

Harry Brook has made starts in this series, but the way he has been dismissed has put him under the spotlight. It was particularly the case in the first innings at Lord’s, backing away to a short delivery and slicing tamely to extra cover.

The exciting batsman has been named as Ollie Pope’s replacement at number three. So, there is an added responsibility on Brook’s shoulders. If he can find that balance, he has the game to score quicker as his innings goes on, providing England with a strong base to play off.

Conversely, if he struggles at three, England’s middle order will be feeling the pinch. Such a situation must be avoided when three straight victories are needed to regain the Ashes.

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