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Nasser Hussain asks England to play smarter in 4th Test against India
By SMCS - Feb 22, 2024 12:20 pm
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Veteran Nasser Hussain feels England batters should adapt to conditions better and make it count once set in the fourth Test against India in Ranchi, starting Friday. After a thrilling 28-run win in the series opener in Hyderabad, the visitors lost the second and third Test in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot by 106 and 434 runs, respectively as well. A major concern for them has been the lack of three-figure scores, with only two batters – Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett – scoring a century in the series so far as well.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope

In his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain added, “You can’t just fall back on the old ‘this is the way we play’ mantra, because Test cricket is all about adapting to conditions – especially in India, where the nature of the pitch can change almost overnight during the course of a five-day Test. If you get in, you need to make it count. Look at the first three Tests: England won the first after Ollie Pope’s magnificent 196, before India hit back with successive double-centuries from Yashasvi Jaiswal and 131 from Rohit Sharma.”

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Nasser Hussain gave an example of England adapting to the short-ball tactic in last year’s Ashes to bounce back in the series as well.

“They’ve done it before. Think back to the Ashes, where they became better at playing the short ball after that hook-happy collapse at Lord’s. Bazball, as they keep telling us, is about smart cricket, not headless cricket. They need to prove that point again now,” further added Hussain.

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow

Meanwhile, Nasser Hussain believes struggling batter Jonny Bairstow could return in form with the bat if he could go through the initial stage of his innings unscathed as well. However, he has been in a lean patch as he scored 102 runs at an average of 17.

“For Bairstow, the key – as it is for so many visiting batters in India – is to get through those first 20-30 balls when it’s turning and Ravindra Jadeja is spearing them into your pads, making it tough to sweep. If he can do that, he can be destructive, but he has to give himself a chance. Perhaps the fact that he has a point to prove will bring out the best in him,” concluded Nasser Hussain.