England got their much-needed win in stunning fashion as they raced to an eight-wicket victory over Oman inside four overs.

After a washout stopped their first game against Scotland, England lost to Australia and knew that a defeat on Thursday would see them knocked out of the World Cup.

Oman just could not get a foothold with only Shoaib Khan able to reach double figures with 11 as England put in a stellar bowling performance.

Adil Rashid was the standout with his 4-11, but Jofra Archer (3-12) and Mark Wood (3-12) helped to cap the performance as Oman were all out for 47 after 13.2 overs.

With a target of 48, England came out to bat on a mission, with Phil Salt hitting two sixes on the first two balls before being caught.

In the end, it would only take them 19 balls to hit their target, with captain Jos Buttler getting an impressive 24 off eight balls, though it was Jonny Bairstow who got the important four to take them to 50-2.

Data Debrief: England came out on a mission, and smashed it

Oman's tally of just 47 is the fourth-lowest total a team has managed in a T20 World Cup match, while it also proved to be England's best bowling performance in the competition.

With 101 balls remaining following England's successful chase, they set a new World Cup record.

Australia defeated England by 36 runs to leave Jos Buttler's side staring down the brink of an early exit from the T20 World Cup.

With their opening match against Scotland having yielded no result, England needed to beat Australia on Saturday to propel themselves into a strong position to progress from Group B.

Yet instead they now find themselves fourth in the group and in need of big wins over Oman and Namibia to stand a chance, while also hoping for a capitulation from Scotland, who are second.

Chasing a target of 202, England were trundling along nicely until Adam Zampa (2-28) dismissed openers Phil Salt (37) and Buttler (42) in the space of two overs.

Will Jacks did not last long as Australia severely dented England's run rate, with the further quickfire dismissals of Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali all but ending England's chances.

And when Liam Livingstone was sent packing by Patrick Cummins late in the day, England knew their hopes of making it out of the group have suddenly turned bleak.

No player scored over 50 for either team, though David Warner (39), Mitchell Marsh (35) and Travis Head (34) were the leading lights for Australia with the bat.

Data Debrief: Aussies avoid four straight losses

Australia are now well placed to push on at the T20 World Cup, and getting one over their old rivals in the process is all the sweeter.

England had won six of their last seven completed T20Is against Australia, including their last three in a row, but Marsh's team pulled out the stops to avoid a fourth straight loss.

Zampa, meanwhile, just loves this tournament. He has taken at least one wicket in each of his last 12 innings at the T20 World Cup, including two in each of his last four innings.

Chris Jordan celebrated taking his 100th T20I wicket, but it proved fruitless. 

England eased to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in their final T20I at The Oval on Thursday to win the series 2-0.

England won the toss and decided to bowl first, and it almost looked to be the wrong choice as Pakistan raced to 59-0 within the first six overs.

However, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer quickly bowled Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam to turn the tide as Pakistan suddenly collapsed.

England's bowlers turned on the style as Liam Livingstone got a double wicket maiden (2-17), with Rashid (2-27) and Mark Wood (2-35) also doing their part to limit Pakistan to 157 all out in the final over.

England comfortably chased down 158, with Phil Salt (45) and captain Joss Buttler (39) getting them off to a strong start as the openers.

Will Jacks added a further 20 before Jonny Bairstow and Harry Brook, who finished the game off with a final six, saw England to 158-3 with 27 balls remaining.

After two washouts disrupted the series in Leeds and Cardiff, England got a confidence-boosting victory ahead of their World Cup title defence, which will begin against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan will play the United States in their World Cup Opener on Thursday. 

Data Debrief: Buttler breaks records

Buttler has broken the record for playing the most T20Is (116) for England, surpassing Eoin Morgan.

Though he did not quite reach the heights of England's win at Edgbaston, his knock saw him hit seven fours and one six on their way to a comfortable victory. 

England claimed a 23-run over Pakistan in Saturday's T20I at Edgbaston, with the returning Jofra Archer taking two wickets.

Making his first England appearance in over a year, paceman Archer dismissed Azam Khan and Imad Wasim as Pakistan were bowled out for 160 while chasing 184.

England captain Jos Buttler was the star of the show in Birmingham, plundering 84 off 54 balls to set the tone for the hosts' innings.

Will Jacks chipped in with a useful 37 before he, like Buttler, was caught out by Shadab Khan from Haris Rauf's bowling.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-36) stopped Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali or Chris Jordan from getting going, but Archer came in to hit a four and a six to get England to 183-7.

Pakistan were two down within four overs of their chase, and after Babar Azam (32) and Fakhar Zaman (45) were dismissed by Moeen and Liam Livingstone respectively, their chances looked increasingly slim.

Having taken out Azam, Archer (2-28) ended Wasim's stand at 22, with Reece Topley (3-41) and Jordan (1-31) finishing the job for England.

The series now moves to Cardiff, with the final match taking place at The Oval on Thursday.

Data Debrief: Buttler at his best

Buttler may well have to miss part of the upcoming T20 World Cup due to the birth of his third child, and England will be hoping their skipper makes a swift return to action if that is indeed the case.

His knock, which included eight fours and three sixes, marked the second-highest score by an England captain in a T20I, behind Eoin Morgan's 91 against New Zealand in 2019.

Virat Kohli's superb knock of 92 helped Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a fourth straight win in the Indian Premier League on Thursday as they kept their playoff hopes alive with a 60-run triumph over Punjab Kings.

Kohli smashed seven fours and six sixes in his 47 balls faced as the Challengers set the Kings a daunting target of 241, with Rajat Patidar also bringing up his half-century and Cameron Green (46 off 27) falling just short of doing so.

The Kings pulled off the biggest run chase in IPL history less than two weeks ago, but their hopes of another comeback were dealt a huge blow when Faf du Plessis took a wonderful over-the-shoulder catch to send Jonny Bairstow packing with Punjab at 71-1.

Kohli's contribution wasn't only limited to the bat, as he produced a stunning run out of Shashank Singh, haring onto the scene to send wickets flying with an underarm throw as Shashank failed to make it back by mere inches.

It was then up to Mohammed Siraj to polish off the Punjab tail, finishing with figures of 3-43 as the Kings fell to back-to-back defeats, keeping them ninth in the standings.

Data Debrief: Kohli leads the way

Having previously claimed the honour in 2016, Kohli leads the way in the race for the 2024 Orange Cap, another impressive innings taking him to 634 runs for the campaign.

Averaging 70.44 with a strike rate of 153.51, Kohli put further distance between himself and Chennai Super Kings' Ruturaj Gaikwad, whose 541 runs put him second in the standings. 

Jofra Archer has been recalled to England’s provisional squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States this June.

The 29-year-old, who has not played competitive cricket since May due to a long-term elbow injury, could make his first appearance for the international team since a tour of Bangladesh in March 2023.

Archer has been limited to just 15 T20Is since his England debut in 2019 and missed their 2022 World Cup success in Australia due to the same injury.

There is a recall for fellow fast-bowler Chris Jordan, who last played for England against New Zealand in September 2023, at the expense of Chris Woakes.

Uncapped Lancashire left-arm spinner, Tom Hartley, is also named in Jos Buttler’s 15-man squad, which includes nine players from the 2022 World Cup.

England will play a four-match T20 series against Pakistan at Headingley in May before they begin their T20 World Cup title defence against Scotland in Barbados on 4 June.

England’s provisional squad:

Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, To Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingston, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Durham wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson is ready to take his chance in a potential “shootout” for the England gloves this summer.

With Ben Foakes yet to match imperious glovework with consistent runs and Jonny Bairstow potentially at a career crossroads following a lean tour of India, there are a number of contenders eager to push to the front of the queue.

Foakes’ Surrey team-mate Jamie Smith has no shortage of admirers, Somerset’s James Rew enjoyed a superb breakout season in 2023 and white-ball regular Phil Salt is keen to make the move across formats.

But there is also a compelling candidate at Chester-le-Street. Robinson was outstanding as Durham stormed to the Division Two title last season, scoring three centuries and 931 runs at a strike-rate of 88.66 to mark himself out as a ‘Bazball’ natural. In the field he contributed 37 catches and 10 stumpings.

That won him a place on England Lions’ winter series against India A and the 25-year-old is not shying away from the possibility of a swift promotion ahead of Durham’s top-flight return against Hampshire on Friday.

“You see articles all the time, people putting stuff online, and it sounds like the media think there’s going to be changes with England,” he told the PA news agency.

“Whether it’s me or someone else, who knows, but that’s an exciting place to be at the start of the season. It’s a bit of a shootout in a way.

“Things like the Lions call-up show you you’re not that far away. It might just be about who starts the best. That’s not me putting pressure on myself but it is an exciting opportunity to really put your name in the hat if something was to happen and changes are to be made.

“Coaches talk about having healthy competition all the time and that’s what drives people onwards, knowing someone is on your tail. I’m used to that, before I was here I was at Kent and I had Jordan Cox and Sam Billings around me so I’ve always had that feeling of trying to force my way in.”

Robinson is also pleased to be coming through at a time when England’s attacking philosophy, led by head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, chimes with his own instincts.

“That’s the way I’ve always played, I like to score runs and hit boundaries,” he said.

“I remember opening the batting for Kent against Northamptonshire once and getting 100 off 100 balls. Everyone was asking, ‘Are you in a rush to get somewhere?’.

“It’s a breath of fresh air for me that it’s becoming more the norm to go about things that way. I score quickly and hit the ball in areas that some players don’t. Batters are there to score runs, it doesn’t matter how many you face.”

Ben Foakes will not lose sleep over whether he features in England’s Test plans for this summer.

The Surrey wicketkeeper was back in the England XI for the winter tour of India and once again impressed with his skills behind the stumps, but failed to register a fifty in 10 innings during the 4-1 loss.

Foakes has been in and out of the team since his 2018 Test debut and missed last year’s Ashes after Jonny Bairstow was given keeping duties.

The wicketkeeper berth is seemingly up for grabs ahead of home series with the West Indies and Sri Lanka this summer, but Foakes, who scored 205 runs at an average of 20.5 in India, is relaxed about his position.

“I haven’t been told anything,” Foakes said.

“Obviously the more years I’ve got into my career, the more I’ve been in and out, I’ve almost come to an acceptance that it has been the case and not try to worry about it or stress too much about getting a long run or external stuff.

“India, first and foremost, I took as just trying to really enjoy it. I think the more times you get dropped, the more times you realise you don’t know how long you’ve got left or whatever it might be.

“So while you’re out there, rather than stress too much about the game or this might be my last chance, just enjoy the fact you are playing and you don’t know how long for essentially.”

The series started with a high for Foakes, who shared a crucial 112-run partnership with Ollie Pope in England’s remarkable first Test win in Hyderabad.

A number of other starts with the bat were made by the 31-year-old, but he often batted with the tail and expressed his disappointment after failing to “kick on” during his 47 in Ranchi.

Foakes added: “I felt like I kept pretty well, keeping felt good. To start off, I didn’t feel amazing with the bat and then, yeah, disappointed in a couple of innings that I didn’t kick on.

“Again, that role of batting lower down, batting with the tail, the more I do it, the more I look at it as how many times can I impact?

“Because some series you might not get an opportunity to go big, big for example, so it is very crucial when you do get a chance to try and really kick on, which I was disappointed in the fourth Test where I could have kicked on and didn’t.

“(I’m) still evolving and trying to learn with the tail and how to manage those sort of situations.”

While Foakes bats at seven for England, he has gained the majority of his success for Surrey as one of their top-five batters, which has contributed towards a first-class average of 38.52.

Foakes will aim to be back in the runs next week when Surrey begin their Vitality County Championship title defence with a trip to Lancashire, but he acknowledged the uncertainty over his England place provides one dilemma.

“Every summer in the past, I’ve not known whether I will play so I’ve played every (Surrey) game,” Foakes said.

“I did look at the Test schedule and there would be the chance to play 28 Tests and Champo (games) if I did play from the start of India until the end of New Zealand, obviously depending on selection.

“If that was the case and I did play, that is quite a lot of cricket so there would be potential to have a rest, but again it depends on what they’re looking at. Whether I am likely to play or not and then reassess.”

England’s tour of India ended in abject fashion as they were hammered by an innings and 64 runs inside three days, with not even James Anderson’s 700th Test wicket masking another batting capitulation.

Anderson became the third bowler and first non-spinner to reach the milestone on the third morning of the fifth Test, dismissing Kuldeep Yadav early on, but India’s lead of 259 at the halfway stage was ominous.

While Joe Root amassed 84, Ravichandran Ashwin ran amok on his 100th Test with five for 77 as England were all out for 195 in 48.1 overs in Dharamsala for a seventh loss in their last dozen Tests.

Ashwin was disruptor-in-chief, taking five wickets as England lurched to 113 for six then 141 for eight and even though Root battled away, his efforts were in vain.

India run out 4-1 series winners and while England had their moments in the first four Tests, they have been outclassed inside eight sessions at the picture-perfect HPCA Stadium in the Himalayan foothills.

The writing has been on the wall since England collapsed from 175 for three to 218 all out on the first day and, Root excepted, there were signs of scrambled minds from the batters on a relatively blameless pitch on Saturday as they succumbed to a heaviest innings loss of the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era.

Ben Duckett had not ran down the wicket to the spinners in this series and had never done so against Ashwin. But perhaps a lack of trust in his defence led to him advancing to Ashwin and toe-ending on to his stumps in the second over.

The pressure told on Zak Crawley after 15 dot balls as he turned his 16th delivery to close-in fielder Sarfaraz Khan while Ollie Pope made a chancy 19 before premeditating a sweep which took a top edge and ballooned to Yashasvi Jaiswal as England’s top-three were sent packing by Ashwin inside 10 overs.

Root was busy and Jonny Bairstow purposeful in a 56-run stand off just 50 balls. Bairstow muscled three leg-side sixes in the space of seven Ashwin deliveries but Jasprit Bumrah, deputising for India captain Rohit Sharma being off the field, simply shuffled his pack and was rewarded.

Kuldeep produced a three-card trick, with two googlies negotiated before a ripping delivery that spun back in and rapped Bairstow on the pad. Encouraged to review by Root, Bairstow started trudging off for 39 off 31 deliveries long before ball-tracking confirmed his fate on his 100th Test.

Root seemed unperturbed by what was unfolding at the other end and helped England beyond three figures with a gorgeous drive for four off Kuldeep but Stokes fell to the final ball of the morning session.

Stokes’ batting returns have dwindled in this series and his dismissal for two was his fourth single-figure score in a row, outfoxed by Ashwin’s arm ball and bowled through the gate. It was the 13th time the England captain has been dismissed by Ashwin in 17 Tests. No one has more success against him.

Still 156 short of making India bat again, the writing was on the wall as Root and Ben Foakes resumed after lunch. Foakes went for an uncharacteristic slog sweep and saw his bails dislodged as Ashwin, whose family in the stands were on their feet, raised the ball to celebrate his five-for.

Tom Hartley made 20 but was deceived by a slower delivery and lbw to Bumrah, whose toe-crushing yorker two balls later meant a pair in the match for Mark Wood.

Root went to fifty with a flick for four off Bumrah and continued on his merry way, finding some support from Shoaib Bashir, who was bowled for 13 by Ravindra Jadeja and tried to review, unaware his timbers had been disturbed.

With only Anderson for company, Root went on the charge and holed out off Kuldeep to complete England’s misery 10 minutes before tea.

The morning started brightly for England as Anderson, with his father in the crowd, finally joined Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne in the 700 club. The 41-year-old spent several months in the 690s but the moment came when Kuldeep hung out his bat and edged through to Foakes to depart for 30.

Anderson soaked in the congratulations of his team-mates at his historic moment held the ball aloft in a typically low-key celebration.

India added just four to their overnight total as they were all out for 477, Bumrah the last to go for 20 as Bashir claimed five for 173 from 46.1 overs. Anderson wanted Bashir to lead England off the field before the pair walked off together.

England are battling to avoid a three-day defeat in Dharamsala as Ravichandran Ashwin caused havoc among the top-order after James Anderson became the first fast bowler to record 700 Test wickets.

Anderson joined former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and the late Australia leg-break bowler Shane Warne in the 700 club by dismissing Kuldeep Yadav on the third morning of the fifth Test.

India were all out for 477 and a lead of 259 before Ashwin ran amok on his 100th Test, bagging both England openers, Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes as the tourists ended the session on 103 for five.

Jonny Bairstow briefly rallied on his 100th Test with three big sixes off Ashwin but there was to be no memorable end to the series for the Yorkshireman as he was dismissed before lunch for 39 off 31 balls.

A 4-1 series defeat now appears all but inevitable and England’s hopes of not losing by an innings rest on Joe Root, who is on 34 not out after Stokes was castled by Ashwin with the last ball of the session.

After a chastening past couple of days, England broke out in smiles when Anderson kissed the outside edge of Kuldeep on the way through to Ben Foakes for 30. The evergreen 41-year-old soaked in the congratulations of his team-mates before raising the ball in a typically low-key celebration.

Shoaib Bashir had his five-for as India added just four runs to their overnight score, with the young off-spinner bagging Jasprit Bumrah for 20 to finish with five for 173. Anderson and Bashir each deferred to the other to lead England off the field before walking off together.

It was not long before England were in trouble when their innings started, Ashwin making the breakthrough in his first over when Ben Duckett uncharacteristically charged down the wicket and toe-ended the ball on to his off stump.

Zak Crawley made a 16-ball duck, dismissed after turning Ashwin to backward short-leg while Pope was sketchy again, making 19 before premeditating a sweep which ballooned off the top edge to Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Bairstow was purposeful and muscled three sixes in the space of seven Ashwin deliveries but was lbw when Kuldeep found sharp turn off the pitch. A review failed to save him as HawkEye showed the ball brushing the top of the stumps.

Despite bagging a wicket with his first ball yesterday, Stokes’ troubles with the bat continued as he was dismissed for a 13th time by Ashwin on the stroke of lunch, bowled through the gate by one that skidded on.

England have brought back express fast bowler Mark Wood as they attempt to salvage a consolation victory against India in the fifth Test in Dharamsala.

Ollie Robinson makes way after a wicketless outing last week on his competitive comeback in Ranchi, where India moved into an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Wood replacing Robinson is England’s only change to their XI as they persist with two spinners in Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir despite the coolest conditions of the tour in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Bashir – alongside Robinson – missed practice on Wednesday due to an upset stomach but it is not thought the issue will stop him from playing in 24 hours’ time, where middle-order batter Jonny Bairstow will make his 100th Test appearance.

Jonny Bairstow admitted becoming the latest member of England’s 100 Test club means a “hell of a lot” after being joined by close family and friends this week to mark the occasion in Dharamsala.

Bairstow is set to become the 17th Englishman to reach the prestigious milestone when the fifth Test against India starts on Thursday and could not wish for a more picture-perfect setting than the HPCA Stadium, which features stunning views of the Himalayan snow-capped mountains in the background.

Several of his nearest and dearest, including mother, sister, partner and infant son, have flown out to celebrate alongside Bairstow, who recognises the magnitude of the occasion.

 

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Unlike England captain Ben Stokes, who remarked in Rajkot earlier in the series of his own 100th Test being “just a number”, Bairstow intends to embrace every moment in what he anticipates will be an emotional week.

“It means a hell of a lot,” said Bairstow, well-known for wearing his heart on his sleeve. “Every young kid that sets out on a journey playing professional cricket wants to try and play 100 Test matches.

“You look back to 2012 when I made my debut at Lord’s, if 12 years later you’d said I’d be playing 100 Test matches, you’d snap your hand off for one but also pinching yourself as well.

“It’s great to have my family out here, it’s an amazing place to come, they’ve come to some pretty cool places along the way as well. It’s a special occasion for everyone who has been there on the journey.

“It will be an emotional week. I’m proud, you know what I’m like, I’m an emotional guy – so get the tissues ready! It’s a special week for me like it was a special week for Ben a few weeks ago.”

Bairstow, who coincidentally registered his 100th ODI appearance at the same venue, made his Test debut in May 2012 and has gone on to enjoy several giddy highs in the whites as well as a few crushing lows.

He amassed the most runs by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year in 2016 and lit the touchpaper for the Stokes-Brendon McCullum era with four jaw-dropping centuries in five innings in a stunning 2022.

But he had to rebound from a badly broken leg at the back end of that year while his place has seemed under relentless scrutiny. Having yet to pass 40 in four Tests in this series, there has been speculation he might be overlooked in the summer with Harry Brook to come back into the England side.

 

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As for whether he can cash in on his landmark appearance in England’s final assignment on the tour of India, who took an unassailable 3-1 lead last time out in Ranchi, Bairstow was sanguine.

 

“It would be nice,” said Bairstow. “Like in every game, you put your best foot forward.

“No matter what it is, I’ll be going out there, chewing my gum, puffing my chest out and trying to have a good time with the other 10 blokes out there.

“Whatever the situation is, we’ll be going out there with smiles on our faces, like we have done in the whole series.”

A chillier climate has greeted England in the foothills of the Himalayas and a couple of players were in their thermals in training on Tuesday morning, with conditions akin to the early English summer.

There has been speculation at England altering the balance of their bowling line-up, with the most recent match on this wicket in India’s domestic first-class competition four weeks ago showing all 36 wickets fell to seam.

“I’ve probably batted the worst I have all trip,” said Bairstow of his net session. “But the whole trip I’ve been happy with how I’ve been moving, I’ve been in the zone the whole way.”

England’s last visit here was blighted by concerns about the outfield ahead of a World Cup group game against Bangladesh last October, but Bairstow is satisfied there will be no issues this time.

“The transition that has been made to produce something like that has been amazing,” Bairstow added. “It’s absolutely stunning here.”

Jonny Bairstow is set to become the 17th member of England’s 100 Test club after head coach Brendon McCullum confirmed the Yorkshireman will feature against India in Dharamsala next week.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of Bairstow’s best moments as a Test cricketer.

South Africa v England, January 2016, Cape Town

 

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Bairstow had a number of false dawns, including a sparkling 95 in his fourth Test against the same opposition. Four years and 18 Tests later, Bairstow had his first international hundred but it was worth the wait. This Test is remembered for Ben Stokes going supersonic but Bairstow was no shrinking violet and contributed 150 not out to a world-record stand of 399 for the sixth wicket. A couple of days before the anniversary of the death of his father David – a former England and Yorkshire cricketer – Bairstow junior cemented his spot as a Test regular. Afterwards, he said: “I was thinking of my dad, my grandfather, who passed away last year, and my family – that was for those guys.”

England v Sri Lanka, May 2016, Leeds

Where else but Headingley should one of Yorkshire’s favourite sons make his first Test ton at home? England were teetering on 83 for five against opponents who shocked them two years earlier. Bairstow riding to the rescue was a common theme in 2016 – his 1,470 runs remain the most by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year – and England never looked back after his swaggering 140 in 183 balls. Bairstow hit another hundred at Lord’s with an unbeaten 167 as England romped to a 2-0 series win.

Sri Lanka v England, November 2018, Colombo

An ankle injury sustained in a football warm-up had the knock-on consequence of Bairstow surrendering the wicketkeeping gloves for a few months to Ben Foakes. Restored to the side as a specialist batter for the final Test and into England’s problem number three position, Bairstow defied Sri Lanka’s coterie of spinners and peeled off a masterful 110. Upon reaching three figures, a red-faced Bairstow let out an emotional roar and later hit out at those who had “castigated” him for the nature of his injury. Bairstow’s push up the order was short-lived but he helped England seal a famous 3-0 series whitewash.

England v New Zealand, June 2022, Trent Bridge

A career that had blown more cold than hot showed signs of flickering with a battling hundred in the previous winter’s Ashes that effectively spared England another 5-0 defeat. A lack of role clarity could perhaps partially explain Bairstow’s shortcomings but there was no second guessing what Stokes and McCullum wanted from him. Chasing 299 and with New Zealand resorting to bowling short, Stokes told Bairstow: “Don’t even think about trying to hit one down. Hit it into the stands.” Bairstow obliged in jaw-dropping fashion with seven sixes in a 77-ball hundred which threatened Gilbert Jessop’s long-standing record. After a run of low scores, Bairstow helped England over the line in emphatic fashion.

England v India, July 2022, Edgbaston

With a run of indifferent scores currently – he is yet to reach 40 in India – it cannot be forgotten Bairstow established himself as the early poster boy for the Stokes-McCullum era. After his Nottingham heroics, he blitzed another mammoth century at his beloved Headingley before his magnum opus in this format in Birmingham. Fired up by Virat Kohli’s sledging, Bairstow thumped 106 first time around in a Test rearranged from the previous summer. Then he and fellow Yorkie Joe Root put on an unbroken 269 as England eased to a national record chase of 378. Bairstow made an unbeaten 114, his sixth and final century of an astonishing 2022, where he averaged 66.31 before suffering an untimely badly broken leg.

England gave India a leg-up in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin as Joe Root and Ben Duckett gifted away their wickets on the third morning of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin’s bombshell withdrawal from the Test the previous evening because of a family emergency meant India could only replace their premier spinner with a substitute fielder, depleting their bowling.

But they found their guests in obliging mood as Root’s patented reverse ramp, with which he has had success in the past, off Jasprit Bumrah was brilliantly caught by Yashasvi Jaiswal at second slip.

After Jonny Bairstow fell for a record-breaking eighth duck against India, Duckett, who had batted with panache in an incredible counter-attacking 88-ball hundred on day two, toe-ended a Kuldeep Yadav long hop to cover for 153 as England lurched from 224 for two to 290 for five at lunch.

Memories of England burning themselves in last year’s Ashes Test at Lord’s – when several batters were caught hooking despite the absence of injured Australia spinner Nathan Lyon – came flooding back.

Captain Ben Stokes (39 not out) on his 100th Test and Ben Foakes (6no) survived some testing moments but England still trail by 155 runs on a pitch that is offering more assistance to the bowlers.

India used just three bowlers for most of the morning with Ravindra Jadeja, back from a hamstring injury sending down an over before lunch.

Before that, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj dovetailed at one end with Kuldeep operating from the other.

Wickets had fallen early in each of the two previous days but the breakthrough on Saturday owed more to a rash stroke from Root rather than skill from Jasprit Bumrah. The match situation did not require a bold gambit but Root’s attempt to up the ante merely allowed India to get their tails up.

Root’s dismissal for 18 means he has failed to pass 30 in five innings in this series while he has been dismissed nine times in 21 innings by Bumrah.

Root’s dismissal was put into harsher context when Bairstow was plumb lbw after Yadav found sharp turn, with the Yorkshireman burning a review. No other batter in history has made more ducks against India than Bairstow.

Duckett was not as authoritative as the previous evening and gave the slightest of chances on 149, with Rohit Sharma getting a fingertip to an edge, before the left-handed opener moved to 150 off 139 balls.

He added just another three off 12 deliveries, which perhaps contributed to his eyes lighting up when a short and wide delivery was offered by Kuldeep but Duckett horribly miscued.

England lost three wickets in quick succession against India’s spinners after the tourists enjoyed a bright start to the first Test in Hyderabad.

At lunch the tourists were 108 for three, with Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in the midst of a repair job following India’s triple breakthrough.

A bullish opening stand of 55 between Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett gave England the upper hand for the first 45 minutes, but once the seamers gave way to the slow bowlers it was a different story.

India picked up three wickets for five runs in the space of 21 balls, Ravichandran Ashwin picking off both set batters and Ravindra Jadeja making short work of an uncomfortable Ollie Pope.

The game was moving away from England quickly, as it has many times before in this part of the world, but they found stability in their experienced middle-order pair.

Root survived an lbw scare off his second ball to reach 18no and Bairstow, resuming life as a specialist number five after ceding the wicketkeeping gloves to Ben Foakes, found a nice flow for 32no.

With a side containing a solitary seam option and four spinners, England captain Ben Stokes would have been mightily relieved to win the toss and surprised nobody by choosing to bat.

The hosts devoted the first eight overs to pace but despite a hint of swing for Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, Crawley and Duckett took their chance to get on top with a handful of boundaries.

Crawley produced a pair of sweet on-drives off, with Duckett riding the odd play-and-miss as he flashed eagerly through the off-side.

At 41 for nought, India skipper Rohit Sharma had seen enough and sent for spin. Almost instantly, things began to happen. Duckett swept a couple of fours before he became the first wicket of the series, pushing forward with a straight bat and falling to a tight lbw as Ashwin squeezed one through.

Pope, playing his first innings since the second Ashes Test in June, followed close behind. He lasted 11 uncomfortable deliveries before nicking Jadeja tamely to slip for one. There was a big shout against the newly arrived Root moments later, but after a long delay DRS appeared to show a thin edge before impact with the pad.

England’s relief lasted just a matter of seconds with Crawley driving Ashwin straight to mid-off, where Siraj scooped a low catch. At 58 for three, it was a tense time but Bairstow’s arrival at his former IPL home ground shifted the tone.

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