When Australia A reached the World Series Cup final in 1994-95, pushing England and Zimbabwe into the group stage before finishing runners-up in their first XI, one of the local newspapers asked if they were the second best team. in the planet.
It would be premature to suggest the same about England’s reserves. But the way they bypassed Pakistan in the first international match of a day here in Cardiff, dropping the tourists by 141 in 35.2 overs before kicking the runs with 169 balls to spare, confirmed the widely held belief that, in the form Cue ball at least, the depth in English cricket is enormously impressive.
This was a makeshift team with no 16 players due to a Covid-19 outbreak after the 2-0 win over Sri Lanka and missing at least four more through injury before that. Ben Stokes’ return from finger surgery was accelerated in response to the crisis and he was asked to be the captain in place of Eoin Morgan, while Chris Silverwood, the head coach, left a family vacation.
However, between them they led England’s least experienced team since 1985 through ODI international matches (135) to a landslide nine-wicket victory and a 1-0 series lead before Saturday’s second installment against to a capacity crowd at Lord’s.
Saqib Mahmood was the star man, his four of 42, including two wickets of the first three balls of the innings, while Dawid Malan (68th of 69) and Zak Crawley (58th of 50) crossed towards the goal in a barrage of 15 fours.
“It was a very clinical performance,” said Stokes, who represented 98 of England’s games before the game. “They did not put us under pressure, but I have no doubt that we will at some point. Not all cricket games go as well as they did today. “
After passing the PCR tests and having a training session together, Stokes had asked his players to play with a smile on their faces and seize the opportunity. Once five new caps were unveiled before a drawing he won – Phil Salt, Crawley, Lewis Gregory, Brydon Carse and John Simpson the recipients – Mahmood fulfilled this mandate.
The 24-year-old has found a new level as of late and, coupled with his work in Lancashire, the time in the Pakistan Super League seems to have worked wonders. It started with dizzying intensity here, catching Imam-ul-haq lbw’s first ball in review, a feather in the cap for Simpson behind the stumps, and slicing through the world’s best Babar Azam for a W0W start to proceedings. .
With Somerset’s Gregory sharing the new ball and churning out a beauty to give Simpson his first international ejection at age 32, Mohammed Rizwan trailing behind and Mahmood then pinning left-handed rookie Saud Shakeel lbw, England had hit four times in the can. -Game for the third consecutive game, despite being the first full member team to make 11 changes.
26-for-four in the seventh over Pakistan they desperately needed a counterattack, but despite Fakhar Zaman and Sohaib Maqsood putting in 53, including a scandalous six for Carse’s added coverage of the latter, they were too often architects of their own downfall. . . A single warm-up within the team may explain some of the rust, but several of the layoffs were gifted.
Fakhar, a major part of his 2017 Champions Trophy win, was one of the culprits, calling Maqsood for a dumb single that James Vince will run for 19 before cutting a wide delivery from Matt Parkinson to the point back at 47.
The spinner also benefited from a trick from Hasan Ali, while his county teammate Mahmood later picked up Faheem Ashraf.
Although Mahmood was the standout, his right chest arm slingshot perhaps evoke memories of Waqar Younis for the Glamorgan faithful and Pakistani fans among the 3,000 crowd, Carse also caught the eye, Durham’s right arm touched 91 mph during his career. seven overs.
The sprint pistol did not support claims that Craig Overton has found an extra yard of pace in the past 18 months, but he was equally neat and cleared the last two wickets. Stokes, in the form of a bowl, sent six deliveries.
The chase was very easy. Salt’s return to the country of his birth was finished by Shaheen Shah Afridi at seven, knocking the kitchen sink down to just one for the edge to slip off, but Malan and Crawley rejoiced thereafter. Malan was all back foot style on his return from a break for personal reasons, while Crawley drove with a confidence he lacked during his recent test appearances.
The pair could still be rivals for the No. 3 spot in the test series against India given the team’s high-level struggles, but in this second one-day team, arguably the third, they and Mahmood sum up the tail of talent that has formed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism