If the Ashes are played on “fast, flat wickets,” as Ben Stokes wants them to be, may chasing be the better strategy this season?
The WTC final’s fourth afternoon featured the ideal conditions for batting, and India’s difficult 444-run chase at The Oval required quite a few false shots. Apart than that, there weren’t many devils in the pitch.
Both Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins wanted to bowl first, which at first appeared to be dictated by the green-tinged pitch in front of them and the dark overhead circumstances above. However, both captains later confessed that they had also considered batting last. For background, victorious run-chases have concluded six of the last nine Test matches played in England. Truer pitches have incidentally returned to Test cricket in England in this “Bazball” era, despite the Jonny Bairstow factor last summer.
The fact that India opted to bat first was due in part to their expectation that the pitch would improve as the game went on, according to Rohit, who also adheres to a positive style of batting regardless of the format.
We assumed the wicket wouldn’t vary much, which was one of the reasons we thought about batting last. After India’s 209-run defeat to Australia in the WTC final, Rohit stated, “In reality, it will get better and better. However, a lot of the things we discussed—such as how we wanted to bowl and bat—were obviously not carried out. We were most likely significantly behind the game all four days because of this.
On the other hand, Cummins claimed that as run-chases become more regular in this format, the “stigma” associated with bowling first and failing to bowl out the opposition is fading.
I believe that you always ask yourself if it will be simpler to bat in the first or fourth innings. The main choice is that, Cummins said. “I believe both teams believed there was a better possibility of getting 10 wickets on that first day than in the fourth innings. What if the outcome had been different? Sincerely, I have no idea. The main query you find yourself asking repeatedly is this. There are expenses in your circumstances. On day one, there’s still some action, and you expect to get 10 wickets. Simply go for it. In comparison to earlier, I believe the stigma associated with bowling first and failing to bowl them out has diminished somewhat.
“This one (the toss) was a little bit more difficult because no Test match was played in June. The wickets have historically been a little… later in the summer.
India appeared at one stage to be in control even as they were chasing 444 when a Virat Kohli error led to a collapse. Australia, were you worried? “I wouldn’t say worried,” Cummins remarked. “We had four of the 430 odd declared on the board. We considered that to be sufficient. I believe you always had to be on the lookout throughout the new ball time. The really hard ball can ping a little bit around the pitch. I believe that getting wickets consistently gave us a sense of control. We observed this morning and believed that the surface still held some promise for us quick bowlers.
Ben Stokes won the toss and said he “wanted to chase” when India played England in the postponed Test match last year in Birmingham. This is not a declaration you hear very frequently, if at all, in Test cricket. Naturally, England went on to pull off a successful fourth-innings chase, and in doing so, they established a model that may be followed throughout this summer. It effectively sets the stage for the Ashes over the coming weeks.