Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott and all-rounder Sir Ian Botham have both lauded the national team for their near “perfect performance” against India during the third Test in Southampton.
England levelled the series at 1-1 with a superb 266-run victory over India.
“Now we want England to prove this was not a flashy one off,” Boycott wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph. “We want this kind of performance for the next two Test matches and win the series.
“England bounced back with an almost perfect performance. Whereas the seamers have been patchy all summer they finally bowled with energy, aggression and had more vibrancy in the field.”
Boycott also noted that he was surprised at the impact all-rounder Moeen Ali had. Ali spun England to victory with a career-best six wickets in the second innings.
“The biggest bonus of all was Moeen Ali taking six wickets in the second innings,” he wrote. “Here is a kid the selectors have pinned their faith on even though they were not sure he was good enough. Thankfully for them, he has turned out to be the real deal.
“England can only go forward if they have a match-winning spinner. We have got plenty of seamers but we need a spinner who can win the match when the ball turns late on in the game. It does not matter if one or two of his wickets were lucky because it is better to be lucky than good. If you are lucky and good, then the sky is the limit.”
Boycott was also pleased to see captain Alastair Cook regain his form with the bat. Cook scored 95 and an unbeaten 70 during the match.
“They looked like a proper England team,” Boycott wrote. “Everything went well from the first morning when the Indian third slip, Ravindra Jadeja, dropped Alastair Cook on 15.
“It is so important for England that Cook, as an opening batsman, makes runs.
“It is no coincidence that when England lost in Australia, and against Sri Lanka and India this summer, that he was not making any runs. When England were winning consistently he was scoring bucketfuls.”
Botham echoed Boycott’s views about Cook in his column for The Mirror, and wrote: “From what was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from an England team at Lord’s to one of the best in recent memory. The win at the Ageas Bowl was simply superb right from the off.
“On every day, in every session and in every department England were stronger than India and I expect to see them pull away further over the rest of the series. What pleased me most about this win was the contributions from across the whole team. It wasn’t just the newer guys making their mark it was the senior men too.
“Watching the likes of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell back in the runs and Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson back in the wickets was great to see and hopefully this will kick start the rest of the summer for them.”