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England will stick to ‘Bazball’ against Indian bowling: Wood

Three Lions open series in Hyderabad on Thursday
England were the last team to beat India on home turf when Alastair Cook’s team won a four-match series 2-1 in 2012. AFP
England were the last team to beat India on home turf when Alastair Cook’s team won a four-match series 2-1 in 2012. AFP

England speedster Mark Wood said Tuesday his team were ready for the challenge of India’s bowling, and would stick to their signature attacking style of cricket in the upcoming five-match Test series.

The Three Lions open the series in Hyderabad on Thursday with their “Bazball” all-action style set to face its biggest challenge on pitches expected to assist the spinners.

“I don’t think we will be defensive,” Wood said. “I think we’ll still look to take the game on.”

England were the last team to beat India on home turf when Alastair Cook’s team won a four-match series 2-1 in 2012.

“We have to soak up that pressure and create a bit of a theatre or drama on the field and then, when it’s time, attack again,” 34-year-old Durham fast bowler Wood said.

England coach and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes have devised an attacking brand of play dubbed “Bazball”, in reference to McCullum’s nickname.

“We know the challenges here. India very rarely loses at home,” he added.

“I think it’s almost like a bit of a free hit for us – where we can come in here and give it a good go, and try something different.”

The hosts have suffered a blow after star batsman Virat Kohli pulled out of the opening two matches due to personal reasons, but Wood said the hosts’ line-up still includes a raft of “quality players”.

Fast bowler James Anderson, who is 10 away from 700 Test wickets, was part of England’s Test triumph in India under Cook.

Wood said the team will “lean on the experience” of 41-year-old Anderson and left-arm spinner Jack Leach.

While England received criticism from some quarters for training in Abu Dhabi and not India, Wood rubbished fears of being “undercooked”.

“I think we’ve prepped really well in Abu Dhabi. We’ve made pitches, we’ve scuffed pitches up to make them spin, we’ve put sand down to make it spin, we’ve had flat pitches to practise simple and reverse swing,” he said.

“It was also good to switch off there as well. We had a good team bonding session. So, we’ve come here fresh, mentally and physically, and ready to go.”

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