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India Vs England, 3rd Test: 'Bazball' Under Fire Again As Ex-ENG Captains Question Ben Stokes And Co

England suffered a 434-run defeat against India in Rajkot, with their 'Bazball' approach garnering further criticism

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AP/Ajit Solanki
Captain Ben Stokes reacts while fielding on the second day of the third cricket Test match between India and England in Rajkot. Photo: AP/Ajit Solanki
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Former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan have criticised the team's 'Bazball' approach in the ongoing Test series against India, saying the visitors need to apply themselves based on match situation instead of being guided by a one-dimensional philosophy of aggression. (More Cricket News)

India registered their biggest-ever Test win, annihilating England by 434 run in the third Test in Rajkot on Sunday. Chasing 557 to win, the tourists were bundled out for 122. The home side leads 2-1 in the five-match series with games left in Ranchi and Dharamsala.

"This was the worst defeat under (Ben) Stokes and Brendon McCullum, and one that exposed their method. They cannot take the aggressive at every opportunity, they have to pick their moments," Vaughan wrote in his column for "Telegraph.co.uk'.

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Hussain echoed the sentiment.

"Bazball is about being attacking but it is also about soaking up pressure," Hussain said on 'Sky Sports'.

In contrast, India's Yashsavi Jaiswal, who has two double hundreds in the series so far, Shubman Gill (91) and debutant Sarfaraz Khan played mature knocks in Rajkot, taking time to settle in before going for their strokes.

"They need to look at the way Jaiswal and Shubman Gill played on day three. They soaked up the pressure for 30 or 40 balls, and then they started to get boundaries.

"That is what Test batting is about. India have scored 875 runs in 228.5 overs. No one can tell me it's been boring watching India bat here," Vaughan said.

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Things have gone downhill for England since winning the series-opener in Hyderabad. The visiting team's batters have displayed poor judgement, giving away the advantage to the hosts.

"...surely a defeat this heavy has to be a wake-up call for Ben Stokes and his players.

"England make out that everything is positive but they need to be having conversations about how to bat better," Vaughan said.

Out-of-form batter Joe Root has been in the eye of the storm for his dismissal in the third Test. His reverse-scoop off Jasprit Bumrah straight to second slip had sparked a collapse of sorts in the first innings.

"The way they played this week has gifted India a victory. I couldn't believe my eyes the way they batted on day three, especially Joe Root's shot," Vaughan said.

Hussain, Vaughan and another former captain Alastair Cook questioned the timing of the shot by Root, given that England were trailing by 221 runs.

"One thing Joe will look at is the timing of that. (Ravichandran) Ashwin wasn't there, India are down a bowler; (Ravindra) Jadeja is playing off the back of an injury; Bumrah is playing three Tests in a row and there is talk of him needing a rest.

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"Get Bumrah into his second or third spell, take it deep and then play the shot later in the day," Hussain wrote.

Root had played a similar shot with much success during the Ashes last year.

"When he played it to the first ball at Edgbaston, I didn't mind it at all because it was all about how many runs England were going to score that day to set up a game," Cook said on 'Sky Cricket'.

"It sent a real message to everyone in the changing room that England's best player is going to take on Australia. Root will be sitting in his room tonight going, 'I think I got that one wrong'."

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At the end of day three of the second Test, pacer James Anderson had asserted that England will chase down 332 runs in 60-70 overs only for them to lose by 106 runs. Ben Duckett was as bullish last week, declaring that "the more the better" when talking about targets.

"They have to be careful that people around don't think they are smug, or above their station...they are in a bubble. All that matters is their dressing room, and fun. There is a bit more to Test cricket than that.

"This England team are hell bent on doing things their way, and 'saving Test cricket'...But ultimately they have to be better than that now. They didn't win in New Zealand, they didn't win the Ashes, and if they carry on like this, they are going to lose in India."

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Cook and Hussain, however, felt that England are capable of turning it around in the next two games.

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