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Alastair Cook ascribes India’s careful batting strategy to a ‘Bazball’ apprehension

Alastair Cook attributes India’s cautious approach in the final stages of their batting innings to the “fear of Bazball,” as England faces a challenging task of achieving a record run-chase for a 2-0 Test series lead.

India established dominance in the first three days, securing a 143-run lead and reaching 211-4, boosted by Shubman Gill’s century, setting a target beyond 350. However, the momentum shifted as India collapsed, with Ben Stokes earning praise for his captaincy, particularly in inducing Gill into a reverse-sweep, leading to the loss of India’s last six wickets for 44 runs.

The partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah drew attention, marked by a slow crawl as they added 26 runs in 12 overs. Despite singles being available, they avoided aggressive strokes, with England strategically bringing the field up to keep Ashwin on strike.

Cook, speaking on TNT Sports’ series coverage, linked India’s cautious approach to England’s successful chasing history under Stokes and Brendon McCullum. England has completed five chases exceeding 250 since their joint tenure, including a national record pursuit of 378 against India in 2022.

Cook suggested a sense of caution and wariness in India’s approach, emphasizing the team’s awareness of England’s potential to capitalize on successful chases. Despite a formidable lead, India seemed focused on preventing England’s batting prowess from gaining momentum.

Cook also speculated that India’s recent lackluster form, with no home wins in their last three Tests, might be contributing to their cautious strategy, providing an extra layer of protection amid concerns about the team’s confidence.

In summary, Cook attributed India’s reserved approach to a combination of the fear of England’s chasing capabilities, a sense of caution against potential batting prowess, and a consideration of India’s current form and confidence levels.

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