Jonny Bairstow’s record series, England crush New Zealand 3-0, reaction, video, highlights, scores
The red ball’s new England head coach Brendon McCullum has insisted he has nothing on captain Ben Stokes’ assault after he oversaw a 3-0 blanking of his native New Zealand during his first series in charge.
McCullum was known for his dynamic approach when the New Zealand captain and attacking mindset now dubbed ‘Baz ball’, out of respect for his moniker, was on display again in the third Test at Headingley on Monday.
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England, after rain washed away the final morning session, took just 15.2 overs to score the remaining 113 runs they needed to hit a target of 296 for a seven-wicket win that followed a pair of five-wicket triumphs over the World Test champions at Pont Lord’s and Trent.
Jonny Bairstow took a blistering 71 not out on Monday – England’s second fastest Test fifty ever – and shared an unbroken 111 with former England captain Joe Root (86 not out).
Bairstow’s innings followed a majestic 162 that revived England from deep 55-6 in their opening innings.
All of this was a far cry from the timid play that had so often characterized England’s performances in a one-in-17 Test winning streak prior to this run.
This rotten comeback led to Root’s resignation as captain after team manager Ashley Giles and coach Chris Silverwood were sacked following a terrible loss in the Ashes series in Australia.
McCullum, however, insisted he had “not done much” as England shut out New Zealand.
– ‘Pretty special start’ –
“I’m aggressive but I think Ben has got me covered,” McCullum told the BBC. “He really pushes the envelope and sends a strong message that this is how the team will play.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan described Bairstow’s batting as being on a “different planet”, while adding that the aggressive nature of Stokes’ team could “inspire a new generation of Test match cricket fans”.
Stokes said the captaincy was more about results.
“Coming away with a 3-0 series win against the best team in the world is a pretty special start,” Stokes said.
“When I took over this job, it wasn’t just about results – it was about changing the mindset of guys towards Test cricket, having fun, enjoying representing your country.Then the results will take care of themselves.
“To say that we did it so quickly is unbelievable.
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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who missed the second Test with a Covid-19 bout, must have regretted a lack of top-notch runs, including from his own bat.
But although he has missed several New Zealand games in the 12 months since leading the Black Caps to victory over India in the inaugural Test World Championship final through injury at the elbow of a long time, the 31-year-old star drummer had not thought of retiring as skipper.
“I definitely enjoy playing for this band and being their leader,” he said.
“It’s been an interesting and challenging time, but the appetite is still there on my part.”