Ben Foakes has compared Brendon McCullum’s stirring speech at tea on the last day of England’s record-breaking second Test victory over New Zealand to Braveheart.
England still needed 160 from 38 overs in the final session with four wickets down at Trent Bridge, but such was the impact of the new coach’s words that Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes demolished their target in a match-winning stand of 179 in just 20.1 overs. They romped home with 22 overs to spare.
‘Baz’s team talk at tea — it was like William Wallace!’ said the keeper-batsman who began the series under pressure but who has responded positively with gloves and bat. ‘After he was done everyone was desperate to get out there.
Ben Foakes (pictured) has hailed Brendon McCullum’s stirring speech at Trent Bridge
Foakes and captain Ben Stokes were at the crease as England sealed a remarkable run chase
‘The traditional Test approach in that situation would be, ‘see how it goes, see how many wickets we’ve got left, then if the situation isn’t there, do we shut up shop?’
He was like, ‘Nah, we’re not doing that. We’re winning this game. If we don’t so be it — we’ve done it the right way. It doesn’t matter if we don’t win the game’. And it took the pressure off.’
It is an approach – Baz Ball if you will – which has seemingly transformed an England side that had won just one of their previous 17 Tests into a team good enough to not just beat the world Test champions in successive Tests, but to do so with style and elan.
Jonny Bairstow and Stokes demolished their target in a match-winning stand of 179
Foakes also discussed how much ‘fun’ it is playing under new Test boss Brendon McCullum
‘It has changed the way I look at Test cricket,’ said Foakes. ‘With playing for England there are obviously a lot of pressures, a lot of criticism, and if you think about that too much it weighs on you. But over the last two weeks it’s clear to see how amazing playing for England can be.
‘Groundbreaking is too strong a term for it, but when I think about it my approach to Test cricket has always been about endurance and meant to be calculated.
‘When you play for England there’s another side to it — the entertainment factor. It’s a really fun time to be involved.’