Aussies rejoice over Bazball flop as England cricket sinks to embarrassing Test low

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have nothing to show for their reinvigoration of Test cricket.

Ben Stokes, the England cricket captain.
Ben Stokes and the England cricket team are now second-last in the World Test Championship despite introducing 'Bazball'. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Bazball era has produced plenty of enthralling cricket and helped reinvigorate the Test scene – but it all threatens to end with no tangible success to show for it. England's series loss to India on top of its failure to regain the Ashes against Australia last year means for all the thrill-a-minute action the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum attack-at-all-times manta provides, the Poms are still chasing major success.

And there could be further pain looming. England now sit eighth – or second last – on the World Test Championship table (for the 2023-25 cycle) following their loss to India in the fourth Test in Ranchi.

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Only winless Sri Lanka separate England from the foot of the table. New Zealand head the ladder from India, with defending WTC champions Australia third.

Geoffrey Boycott takes aim at England over 'silly' Bazball

The top two teams at the end of the two-year cycle will meet in the final at Lord's in June next year. New Zealand host Australia in a two-Test series starting Thursday, with Pat Cummins' men needing to win both games to potentially leapfrog India.

While the final is still 16 months away and England has home series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka to come this northern hemisphere summer – and will play the last of their five Tests against India next week - they are well off the pace and have much ground to catch up. Sir Geoffrey Boycott is probably the last person to give advice on attacking cricket, but the former England Test opener has urged his countrymen to dial back the aggression and concentrate on winning.

Ben Stokes and England teammates, pictured here after their loss to India in the fourth Test.
Ben Stokes and England teammates walk off after their loss to India in the fourth Test. (Getty Images)

Writing in the UK's Daily Telegraph, Boycott said: "Bazball has given Test cricket a shot in the arm and England deserve praise for that. At times, I love it. But I love winning more and England have failed to beat the best two teams in the world: Australia and now India. What should really hurt them is that they should have beaten both.

"The batting cost them winning the Ashes and it lost them the series against India. I know they all have to buy into the Bazball mantra because that is all they talk about. To play with no fear is good, but at times England were reckless and too cocky about how they were going to smack everybody around.

"Getting out is part of the game but getting yourself out is silly. They need to cut out the braggadocio and start beating the big teams. It is alright duffing up the lesser ones but England will be judged on whether they beat Australia and India and our batsmen have blown it both times so far." Cricket fans around the world, particularly Australians, are revelling in England's misfortune.

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