Confidence high in the England camp as Broad finds his Mr Wright


There was a moment in England's crushing victory over Afghanistan in the World Twenty20 that suggested they might have the right stuff to defend their title. It was the 19th over and Jonny Bairstow came in at 159 for four.

The night's hero, Luke Wright, was on 76no and Bairstow asked about the bowling. Wright informed him: "It looks like he's going for yorkers but he's not quite got it right."

To which Bairstow, with a Yorkshireman's common sense, replied: "OK, I'll have a look." The bowler, Izatullah Dawlatzai, duly produced a full-length delivery which was actually a no-ball, and Bairstow despatched it over long-on for six. "Yes, you're right," he said to his partner, "he's missed his yorker."

This little tale from the middle was related with some relish by Stuart Broad, England's T20 captain, for he realised what it meant for the well-being of his side.

"That confidence is what you want in a set-up," said Broad. "I think we have found a lovely timing. We have a youngish batting line-up which at times might not come off. We saw that at Durham against South Africa. But we have a three-week period here where it would be lovely if it did come off."

England will have a clearer idea of where they stand in this competition after their final group A match against India tonight. The defeat of Afghanistan on Friday by 116 runs was welcome because it was billed as one of those pesky ties that could so easily go wrong.

The Afghans, authors of the most heart-warming story in world sport, had nothing to lose and it was suspected that their free-spirited approach might derail any side, no matter how meticulously prepared. In the event, Afghanistan were beaten to the point of humiliation. England did what they had to do.

India are a different proposition, and while both teams have already qualified for the Super Eight stages, they will know that a run in this sort of concentrated tournament can be hard to stop.

It was how England won the title in the Caribbean two years ago. Having started slowly, they suddenly came alive and, after beating Pakistan by six wickets, they never looked back. That is why there will be no relaxing tonight at the Premadasa Stadium.

"Players take it really seriously now," said Broad. "Dancers and fireworks are important to T20 cricket but the actual game when you are out there is very serious."

Although they are the champions and officially ranked as the No 1 T20 side, England were seventh in the bookmakers' odds when they arrived in Sri Lanka last week. This has changed after the all-round solidity of their exhibition on Friday and will shift further if they overcome India.

As Broad hinted, it is possible that they have arrived at the perfect moment. Almost by accident, it could be that they have found a No 3 in Luke Wright, who finished on an electrifying 99no on Friday. When England won in 2010, the runs of Kevin Pietersen at No 3 were irreplaceable.

Wright is probably no Pietersen, but he is in the form of his life, a far different batsman from the frenetic whirlwind who used to appear in the late middle order. He was given his opportunity here only because of Ravi Bopara's loss of form, and in the warm-up games and the tournament proper he has looked the part.

Make no mistake, it would amuse England hugely if he could reproduce some of what Pietersen did last time. "He's shown a really big maturity actually," said Broad. "That was shown in Friday's innings. He came in a difficult position.

"But he adapts to conditions really well, he's really grown up as a cricketer. It's really good to have a guy coming in at three who's confident because it's a pivotal position to bat in Twenty20 cricket and any team would want a guy who can clear the ropes like that in their side." So there, Kev.

It is India's frequent way in these matters to do just enough. Perhaps this is bestowed by the enduringly placid temperament of their captain, MS Dhoni. But they look vulnerable here, taking a huge risk by playing only four specialist bowlers, not all of whom are up to it.

They are depending on their batting to see them through, which may not be enough. But in 23-year-old Virat Kohli, they have the limited-overs batsman de nos jours. He has scored five hundreds in his last nine one-day international innings and three consecutive T20 fifties.

England's fundamental system is fairly simple: while batting, keep wickets in hand at the top of the innings and blast later on, and while bowling take three early wickets so opponents have no way back. It might just work.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own