England 'pioneers' Stokes and McCullum changing Test cricket, says Collingwood

By Sports Desk December 04, 2022

England's bold declaration on the fourth day of their first Test with Pakistan shows how Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum are "pioneers", says Paul Collingwood.

The captain and head coach's aggressive approach to red-ball cricket has been rewarded with rapid runs during their encounter in Rawalpindi, as they look to win in their first long-form visit since 2005.

Having bowled out their hosts for 579, to earn a first-innings lead of 78, a rampant 264-7 followed by an early declaration at tea set Pakistan an achievable 343 in pursuit.

England reduced their opponents to 80-2 at the close of play, heading into the last day, but their swing-for-the-fences approach continues to delight many, including assistant coach Collingwood.

"Sometimes I think it's crazy – crazy in a good way," Collingwood said. "I know I would never have come up with some of the ideas Ben and Baz [McCullum] come up with, but it's great to see. It's going against convention.

"When it comes off, it's genius. If it doesn't come off, so be it. The bigger picture of what Baz McCullum and Ben Stokes are doing is for Test cricket to be entertaining.

"It feels like they have been pioneers in the way they go about playing the game. You've got two guys willing to risk everything to make sure that this game survives.

"It's great to watch. If you play the game in the right way and put yourself in the right position to win the Test match, there's no shame in losing a cricket match.

"If Pakistan knock the runs off tomorrow, they deserve the win. It's very well-balanced. It's up to us to come out tomorrow with plenty of energy, and if we get a couple of early wickets, we're right ahead of the game."

Stokes, who succeeded Joe Root as skipper earlier this year, has forged a thrilling partnership with former New Zealand captain McCullum since he took the reins.

Their run rate of 6.73 per over in Rawalpindi is the fastest ever set by a Test team batting twice in a match.

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