Can Ben Stokes’s Bazball enter history books with Vizag heist?

The last 10 times England have batted in the fourth inning, they have won 8 matches, including a successful 378-run chase against India.

Ben Stokes may not be a criminal, but he has the opportunity to pull off one of the greatest heists in Vizag. The leader of the England cricket team has led his side to some miraculous wins in the last two years. But what stands ahead of him in the IND vs ENG 2nd Test is surely the biggest challenge he’s come across.

Can Ben Stokes guide his side to the highest-ever successful Test chase in India? With Stokes and Brendon McCullum at the helm, one cannot put anything past their ‘Bazball’ approach.

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England: The Chase Masters

Since Ben Stokes took over as England’s skipper in 2022, he has won 14 of the 20 Tests. His win percentage (70) puts him up there as one of the best skippers in Test cricket’s 147-year history.

But what’s even more impressive is his record in chases. Out of these 20 matches, England have had to chase in 10 instances. The shockingly high number is primarily because their aggressive approach (Bazball) encourages them to chase rather than bat first.

The last 10 times Ben Stokes and Co have gotten the chance to chase, they have won 8 matches. An astonishingly high win percentage (80) is what makes them confident enough to chase down even 399 in the IND vs ENG 2nd Test.

These 8 successful chases have seen them boss 7 targets that were 250 runs or above. Of course, Indian fans will remember them chasing 378 with just three wickets down in Birmingham against India in 2022.

England’s chase record

Score Target Result Opposition Venue Year
279-5 277 Won New Zealand Lord’s 2022
299-5 299 Won New Zealand Nottingham 2022
296-3 296 Won New Zealand Leeds 2022
378-3 378 Won India Birmingham 2022
130-1 130 Won South Africa The Oval 2022
170-2 167 Won Pakistan Karachi 2022
256 258 Lost New Zealand Wellington 2023
12-0 11 Won Ireland Lord’s 2023
327 371 Lost Australia Lord’s 2023
254-7 251 Won Australia Leeds 2023
England’s record in last 10 chases

But there are two outliers as well. The biggest one was 327, which they failed to chase against Australia in their home conditions. When Bazball went against Australia in 2023, they failed to impress. With four great bowlers in the lineup, their tactics fell flat.

In Vizag, with 332 still left and 9 wickets in hand, England will be once again going against a top-tier team in India with four great bowlers. Will Bazball hold up to the name they themselves have created? Can Ben Stokes do the impossible in the IND vs ENG 2nd Test?

If there is one team that can chase down 399 in the world right now, that is England. But the odds are against them. But that’s when they have risen to the top. Everyone wrote them off in Hyderabad, and look where we stand now. One thing’s certain: no one is missing an enticing Day 4 play in Vizag tomorrow.

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