A recent history of England’s test team
The first recognized test match took place between England and Australia in 1877. Since England has played 1022 test matches – at least 192 more than any other test playing nation. However, between 2015 and 2020, England’s approach looked clueless, and they often gifted test matches to the opposition – especially away from home. In this article, I will look to analyze the mistakes that they made in this period, and explain how England’s test team has begun to fix their glaring issues.
England playing “attacking cricket”
After a shambolic 2015 Cricket World Cup, England appointed Trevor Bayliss as head coach and Paul Farbrace as assistant head coach. Together they developed a philosophy to play a modern brand of cricket in both one-day internationals and test matches. It turned out to be a huge success in limited-overs, with England winning the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
However, this did not work for England in test cricket. Risky strokeplay resulted in a high percentage of dismissals bowled or caught on the fence. The Duke ball has moved prodigiously in the past in English conditions, and therefore such strokeplay was never likely to work for a prolonged time. Jonny Bairstow, for example, averaged 58.80 in test matches in 2016. But, as his limited-overs game began to progress rapidly, his test average fell even alarmingly. Subsequent test averages in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were only 34, 30, and 19.