Brendon McCullum: England's performances will have alarm bells going off around world

New coach and captain Ben Stokes kicked off new era in style with 3-0 series whitewash of world champions New Zealand

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England's attacking performances in their series clean sweep over New Zealand will send “alarm bells going off around world cricket”, according to coach Brendon McCullum.

The combination of captain Ben Stokes and McCullum powered England to a thrilling 3-0 victory over the world champions, with Monday's seven-wicket win summing up their new aggressive approach to Test matches.

Batters Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow – unbeaten on 86 and 77, respectively – saw England home on the final day at Headingley – and continued the form that gave them victory in the other two Tests by five wickets, when they made tricky run chases look easy.

It has been a remarkable change in fortunes since Stokes replaced Root as captain and Kiwi McCullum took over the red-ball coaching reins. Before the series, England had managed just one win in 17 Tests.

“The world Test champions were a formidable opponent to overcome and the alarm bells have probably gone off somewhat around world cricket as to how this team is going to play,” said McCullum.

“When Ben's out there captaining he's constantly making plays, which I think is great because it means at least we're in control, regardless of what the scoreboard says.

“Then when he's batting, he's pushing the envelope as well, which is sending a message to not just our dressing room but to other dressing rooms around the world that this is how we're going to play.

Captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have led England to wins in their first three Tests since taking charge of team. Getty

“Obviously you want to be the No 1 team in the world and you want to achieve the ultimate success, which is being world Test champions, winning the Ashes and beating the top teams consistently.

“That's the end goal, but what we need to do first of all is enjoy what we've been able to achieve over the last three weeks and understand what we've achieved as well. Cherish it.”

And England will quickly be back in action with India their next opponents at Edgbaston starting on Friday in a Test delayed from last year by the tourists' Covid-19 concerns. India are currently 2-1 up in a five-match series following a 157-run win at the Oval.

After Monday's win, Stokes insisted there will be no let-up from his side. “Regardless of the opposition, we're still going to have the same mindset,” Stokes told reporters after stumps in Leeds.

The dynamic all-rounder, on a mental health break from cricket at the time of the fourth Test against India, added: “Obviously, it's going to be completely different … a different opposition, with their attack and players as well.

“We'll be concentrating on what we've done well over these last three games and look to continue that against India on Friday.”

Updated: June 28, 2022, 12:55 PM
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