Intrigued to see how long Bazball lasts: Steve Smith on England’s new approach to Tests

Australia star Steve Smith on Wednesday said England’s new approach to Test cricket, famously labelled as the ‘Bazball’, is exciting but expressed doubts over its sustainability. The former Australia captain said he has doubts about whether England would be able to replicate their positive approach on a green pitch when Australia pacers are steaming into bowl at their batters.

England have been on a roll in Test cricket, having won 4 out of 4 ever since Brendon McCullum (Baz) took over as the head coach, joining hands with captain Ben Stokes. England crushed world Test champions New Zealand 3-0 at home in June, chasing targets in excess of 250 without breaking a sweat.

England scripted their record successful chase, gunning down a mammoth target of 378 in the rescheduled 5th Test against India in Birmingham on July 5. Jonny Bairstow, who hit twin hundreds in the Birmingham Test, has been the leader of England’s Bazball approach with the bat as he has displayed fearlessness, especially when England hunted down stiff targets in the 4th innings.

Bairstow and Joe Root stitched a 269-run unbeaten stand in the 4th innings against India as they took down the likes of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja who were part of a high-quality Indian attack.

“It’s been exciting, I’m just intrigued to see how long it lasts, if it’s sustainable,” Smith told on the eve of Australia’s 2nd Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

“If you come on a wicket that’s got some grass on it and Josh Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc are rolling in at you, is it going to be the same? We’ll see what happens,” he added.

England have talked up the ‘Bazball’ approach with Ben Stokes quoting Jack Leach that there might be better teams than them in Tests but none braver than the English unit under him and McCullum.

‘GUYS KEEP JOKING ABOUT IT’

Steve Smith said Australia head coach Andrew McDonald is bored of hearing about Bazball and the team has been joking about England’s rejuvenated way of Test cricket.

Notably, Australia hammered England 4-0 in the Ashes at home earlier this year. Smith apparently joked about the approach by shouting ‘bazball’ when he was doing batting practice on Wednesday ahead of the 2nd Test vs Sri Lanka.

‘Guys just keep joking about it – I think Ronnie [McDonald] has had enough of hearing about Bazball to be honest, it’s good fun to joke about,’ Smith added.

‘I’ve watched a little bit of it, it’s certainly been entertaining, they’re coming out playing their shots. Even someone like Alex Lees started to come down the wicket when he was on nothing really, to play the way he played.”

Australia lead Sri Lanka 1-0 in the 2-Test series after having won the opener by 10 wickets last month.

Also Read: ICC Test Rankings: Virat Kohli drops out of top-10, Rishabh Pant storms to No.5

Also Read: Joe Root on England’s new style of Test cricket: We are heading into the unknown

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