Michael Clarke calls out Matthew Hayden detail in swipe at England cricket team

England's 'Bazball' argument has been picked apart by the Aussie cricket great.

Pictured left to right, former Aussie cricket captain Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden.

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has picked apart England's 'Bazball' argument in the wake of their historic loss to India in the third Test. The Indians romped to their biggest Test victory in terms of runs as opener Yashasvi Jaiswal's second consecutive double century set up the staggering 434-run victory.

The margin of defeat was the second worst in terms of runs and heaviest in 90 years for England, and came off the back of a shocking second innings collapse. The visitors were bowled out for 122 and have come under fire for refusing to alter their aggressive 'Bazball' style of Test cricket.

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Joe Root's inexplicable dismissal during the first innings has drawn the most ire from cricket greats around the world after he gifted India a wicket by playing a switch shot straight to second slip off fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah. England were looking good at 2-224, with Ben Duckett on 141 at the time but Root's dismissal sparked a collapse of 8-95 that saw England bowled out for 319, trailing India's first innings score by 126.

The Root dismissal has been identified as the turning point for England in the Test, with Jaiswal's second innings double ton compounding the pain for the visitors as India declared at 4-430, before romping to the massive win. Despite the alarming nature of England's defeat and the widespread criticism around their 'Bazball' tactics, Duckett said they should be praised for the entertaining cricket they're determined to play.

“When you see players from the opposition playing like that, it almost feels like we [England] should take some credit that they’re playing differently than how other people play Test cricket,” Duckett said on day three. “We saw it a bit in the summer and it’s quite exciting to see other players and other teams are also playing that aggressive style of cricket.”

Hearing those comments from Duckett though, former Aussie Test skipper Clarke has taken aim at the England batter and argued that plenty of Aussie teams in the past played aggressively. Clarke pointed to legendary Aussie Test opener Matthew Hayden as a batter that loved to charge down the ground and hit bowlers to the boundary, among a number of other Aussie legends.

“He must have missed Australia for 20 years,” Clarke said on ESPN’s Around The Wicket about the comment from Duckett. “As a youngster, he must not know what Test cricket Australia played. Has he heard of Matthew Hayden, Michael Slater, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist? These guys used to smack it as good as everyone."

Seen here, legendary Aussie Test opener Matthew Hayden.
Legendary Aussie Test opener Matthew Hayden loved charging down the pitch and taking bowlers on in his prime. Pic: Getty

Michael Clarke questions unorthodox shot choices

Clarke argued that batting aggressively doesn't necessarily mean playing outlandish shots, such as ramps and reverse sweeps, something the England batters seem to be having trouble coming to terms with. The former Aussie skipper concedes that T20 cricket has introduced a greater array of shot-making, but suggested there is a time and place for it in Test cricket.

“Because you play a reverse sweep or a switch hit or a ramp shot, that doesn’t mean you are batting aggressively either," Clarke added. “Matthew Hayden just walked down the wicket and hit you straight over your head for a six. He didn’t have to play a ramp or a switch hit...

"Look, I love the way they (England) are playing, I love aggressive, positive cricket in any format. And now, because of T20 cricket, we are seeing different shots, we are seeing players play the full 360 in all three formats... You are seeing different shots, but you are not seeing more aggression or more positivity.

“I can tell you a number of innings where I was lucky enough to bat with the superstars, and once they got to 20/30/40, mate, if they wanted to, they could have gone 7/10/15 runs an over... It was about building an innings to get the team into a position. Finding a bowler you found most comfortable with and taking it to him. Hayden, the way he swept Harbhajan Singh through the 2001 Test series – so aggressive, so positive – but it was a genuine sweep shot, it was not a reverse.”

There is no doubt 'Bazball' has brought success for England at Test level, with their record now standing at 14 wins, six losses and one draw from their 21 Tests under McCullum and Stokes. However, the reality is that England's win percentage could be even higher if they weren't so aggressive at times and they currently sit second last on the World Test Championship standings with three wins, four losses and one draw.

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