England vs India: Ben Stokes promises to carry forward aggressive mindset in Birmingham Test

England captain Ben Stokes has said there will be no let-up in intensity when the in-form side take on India in the rescheduled 5th Test, starting July 1 in Birmingham. Stokes expressed delight with the way England were able to hammer world Test champions New Zealand 3 -0 at home, chasing scores in excess of 250 with a stunning aggressive approach in each of their 3 victories.

England appointed Ben Stokes as their captain and got Brendan Mullum on board as their head coach for the Test team that was reeling with just 2 victories in 17 matches before the New Zealand series. However, England have managed to make a solid first impression with their aggressive approach, marking the beginning of a new era in their Test cricket history.

World Test champions New Zealand looked rattled by the aggression that was on display from the likes of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes as the trio led the batting unit from the front.

It will be interesting to see if England’s brave approach will pay off against India, who are heading into the final match of the incomplete series from last year with a 2-1 lead. Led by Virat Kohli last year, India won the battle of aggression against England, who were without Stokes who was on a mental health break.

“Trust me when I say that we’ll be coming out with exactly the same mindset even if it’s a different opposition,” Stokes said.

“We’ll be concentrating on what we’ve done well over these last three games and look to continue that against India on Friday.”

England had clinched a 2-0 unbeatable lead and were looking in a spot of bother in the second innings as they slipped to 55 for 6, in response to New Zealand’s 329. However, Jonny Bairstow counter-attack along with debutant Jamie Overton with the two adding in excess of 200 runs in quick time.

England chased down 296 in the final innings, scoring at a healthy rate of over 5 runs an over as Joe Root and Bairstow pummeled the New Zealand bowling attack.

‘JUST UNBELIEVABLE’

Stokes said he himself is surprised by the speed at which his teammates have bought into the new approach.

“Being 55-6 (in the first innings), and then doing what we managed to do, and in the manner that we did, was probably the most pleasing thing of the series, because it could have been very easy for us to go back into our shell.

“For me, when I took over the job, it was more than the results. It was about changing the mindset of the lads towards test cricket, about having fun and enjoying the fact that you’re out there representing your country.

“And then the result will look after itself. That we’ve done it so quickly is just unbelievable,” he added.

England will have the upper hand when they take on India in the much-anticipated Test. While India have only played a practice match against Leicestershire, there are doubts over the participation of the visiting captain Rohit Sharma who tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.

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