England became the first side to record a 3-0 series whitewash in Pakistan with an eight-wicket win in Karachi. Compared to the drama of the first two games in the series, the Karachi Test was a relatively tepid affair, though Ben Stokes and co. were still able to break some records through Rehan Ahmed’s antics. Rounding off a remarkable year for English cricket, check out five things we learned from this remarkable series whitewash here at SinkorSwimSports!
Harry Brook Is A Star In The Making
Harry Brook announced his arrival to the England set-up during the side’s T20 series against Pakistan, before winning the T20 World Cup a month later. With Jonny Bairstow’s injury, he came in at number five in the Three Lions’ batting lineup, and immediately showcased his skills with a scintillating 153 (116) on the first day of the first Test.
It would be just the start for the Yorkshireman. He became the first batsman to hit centuries in three consecutive overseas matches since 2006, recording 468 runs at an average of 93.6. Named the Player of the Series, Brook hit 12 sixes across his five innings and broke David Gower’s 1984 record of the most runs made by an Englishman in Pakistan (449).
Brook’s combination of self-assurance and fast hands invoke shades of Pietersen in his prime, and the way in which he picks up length is the only evidence one needs to know England have a real gem in the making in the Yorkshireman.
England’s Bowling Unit Know How To Take Wickets
Across all three pitches played across the series, the bowlers on both sides were given absolutely nothing to work with. The Rawalpindi pitch was especially dead, being branded as ‘below average’ by the ICC. For England to take 20 wickets every match of the series is, therefore, mental.
The rate at which England scored their runs brought more time into the game for these wickets to fall, however, the change in approach Ben Stokes has fostered with his bowlers is just as remarkable a turnaround for the side as any of the frequent six-hitting.
England’s win in Karachi to seal the series 3-0 was also the first instance since 2007 of the team winning with either James Anderson or Stuart Broad in the lineup, showcasing how deep the depth is for talent with the ball right now.
Pakistan Pay For The Orthodox Approach
If England’s series continued to trailblaze the Test format, Pakistan were left strangled by their orthodox approach to it.
It was another standout series for skipper Babar Azam, hitting a century in Rawalpindi and 348 runs in total, however, his leadership was certainly caught napping in comparison to Stokes. So often Pakistan just looked like a team that didn’t know what they were witnessing half the time, and strange decisions when it came to selections only exasperated things.
Injuries to the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah didn’t help, but England found themselves without Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood, and Ben Foakes at points.
The first time Pakistan have been whitewashed at home, the first time the side have lost four consecutive home matches and Babar Azam becomes the first captain to lose four consecutive Tests in a calendar year – worrying times for the country’s big talisman.
Rehan Ahmed Could Be Special
At 18 years and 126 days, leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed became England’s youngest-ever male Test player when he made his debut during the third match of the series. He would become the youngest debutant to take five wickets in a men’s Test match in the second innings, taking seven in total across the game.
Having been touted as a special talent by Shane Warne as a 13-year-old, the hype surrounding Ahmed was already pretty high, however, his performance during the third match of the series has seen that blown into the stratosphere.
Leg spinners are an alluring breed at the best of times, with a world-class one hailing from English shores almost unheard of. The task for Stokes and McCullum now is managing the hype, and bringing out the best of this undeniably talented leggie.
BazBall Works Anywhere
England are singlehandedly ripping up the conventions of two hundred years’ worth of Test Cricket, and we are all here for it.
Brendon McCullum loathes the term ‘BazBall’, so this is the last time we’ll refer to it as that, but this new approach is based in so much more than just aggressive hitting for the sake of it. Which is why the naysayers about it not working away from home was incredibly narrow-minded.
Embodied by the two blokes at the top, England now conduct themselves with two defining characteristics: a consistent philosophy, and an unwavering selflessness that enables them to put time into a match and take wickets.
In fact, the only thing about the Stokes-McCullum revolution that has left us feeling astounded at this point is how quickly it’s been fastened together. Nine wins out of ten is remarkable in itself, but it’s only made more impressive when put against the fact they inherited a team with just one win in seventeen.
It’s arguably the most dramatic turnaround in the history of the sport, from undoubtedly the most significant captain England will likely ever find.
England won by 74 runs
England won by 26 runs
England won by 8 wickets
Red Bulls, James Anderson and Christian Pulisic enthusiast. Still unsure how Wes Brown wrangled himself a Champions League medal – Premier League, Cricket and Major League Soccer contributor at SinkorSwimSports.