Michael Vaughan sends Ashes warning to Australia after England stun New Zealand
Michael Vaughan has warned Australia that England will go ‘toe-to-toe’ with them in next summer’s Ashes series after Ben Stokes’ side clinched a brilliant victory over New Zealand.
England chased 299 in 50 overs on the final day of the second Test at Trent Bridge to beat New Zealand by five wickets and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
It was another thrilling and impressive win for Brendon McCullum’s side, who chased 277 at Lord’s last week in the series opener against world Test champions New Zealand.
Vaughan believes England’s rapid progress under McCullum bodes well for the team as they look to establish themselves as one of the best Test sides in the world and regain the Ashes next summer.
‘This will send a message around the cricketing world that this England Test side is to be feared and they will go toe-to-toe with Australia next summer,’ Vaughan wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
‘The timid England, scared of failure, has disappeared just two Test matches into the new regime.
‘This team is very much in its infancy but after only eight days of Test cricket we know the Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes combination have ripped off the shackles.
‘It is the same team, more or less, but they have been freed up and it has totally changed their psychology.’
While England beat New Zealand at Lord’s, there prospects of victory in Nottingham appeared bleak after conceding 553 in the first innings, having elected to bowl first.
Daryl Mitchell’s brilliant 190 and a century from Tom Blundell helped New Zealand take control of the Test, but England almost achieved parity through hundreds from Joe Root and Ollie Pope.
New Zealand lost several cheap wickets in their third innings but fifties from Mitchell, Will Young and Devon Conway ensured England would need to chase 299 in 72 overs, a difficult task.
Jonny Bairstow’s incredible century and fluent contributions from Stokes and Alex Lees saw England cruise to victory in a win that Stokes ranks above his Ashes and World Cup miracles in 2019.
‘You don’t win from just one day. The way we fought back after 500 on the board. Incredible, incredible Test match. Huge testament to everyone’s character and resilience.
‘That blows away Headingley, it blows away Lord’s and the World Cup final. It was incredible.’
England hero Bairstow added: ‘Look at the crowd which has turned up on day five of a Test match at Trent Bridge – 13,000. People question Test cricket at times and the way in which it is played over a period of time.
‘But there’s been more than 500 scored in both first innings and 300 chased down in the last innings. If that isn’t an advert for Test cricket, I don’t know what is.
‘It was fantastic to have such a crowd on day five. It was full of buzz, everything you want in Test cricket. It was so fresh – it was great.’
England can complete a clean sweep in the third and final Test at Headingley next week.
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