Lavishing praise on the England cricket team for their series-equalising win in the third Test against India, former captains Geoffrey Boycott and Ian Botham said the home side looked much stronger than the tourists in every department of the game.
Writing in ‘The Daily Telegraph’, Boycott hoped that the English team would continue to perform this well in the remaining two Tests as well.
“Now we want England to prove this was not a flashy one off. We want this kind of performance for the next two Test matches and win the series,” said Boycott.
“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,” he added.
England beat India by 266 runs in the Southampton Test yesterday to draw level in the five-match series after losing the second Test at Lord’s.
Botham said it was to watch struggling English skipper Alastair Cook finally get back to form was a superb sight to watch.
“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,” Botham wrote in ‘The Mirror’.
“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,” he added.
Boycott echoed the sentiment saying that Cook’s form has always been crucial to England’s overall performance.
“They looked like a proper England team. 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 bucket fulls,” he explained.
Boycott said a big positive from the win was Moeen Ali providing the team with a good spin option.
“The biggest bonus of all was Moeen Ali taking six wickets in the second innings. 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,” said the former batsman.
“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,” he added