While a nervous performance in their final Super 12 game didn’t exactly scare India, who were confirmed as England’s semi-final opponents on Sunday, Jos Buttler’s side proved something. in beat sri lanka to qualify for the quarter-finals. After sticking too tightly to pre-match plans in their first two games, the last two games have forced a freer and more successful approach on them – and now they may have to tear up their tactics again.
“They went off like a train but the good teams react well, and I think we reacted well,” said Mark Wood of his side’s four-wicket win on Saturday. “The story of the game was that the spin was always going to be hard, and could the pace get wickets or get restricted? It was different from the last game, and if the ground in Adelaide is different, we will also have to adapt to it. You have to be fluid in your team, in the selection, in the orders and the alignments of pins. You don’t want to be a one trick pony.
England will likely have to fine-tune their squad for Thursday’s semi-final, having picked the same XI in every game so far. They will discover the seriousness of Dawid Malan groin injury Monday, but the discomfort had not subsided and with four days out, it seems unlikely that he will play.
The question is whether to pick a direct replacement for Phil Salt, a top-notch aggressive hitter who Wood reported is “biting his bitt”, or bring in Chris Jordan, a brilliant outfielder whose bowling will add to the death of the team. flexibility and can contribute with the bat lower in order.
Perhaps two places should be up for grabs given Harry Brook’s form, averaging 8.16 at slightly more than a bullet run in six innings since arriving in Australia. Sure, form can change quickly – Ben Stokes was averaging 9.80 on precisely one ball run before scoring 42 to guide the team to victory on Saturday – but the Test captain of the England is a special case.
“I know people have questioned him, but when you need him he stands up,” Wood said of Stokes. “It’s another moment in his career where you can tell that when the team needed him, he was the man to rely on.”
If England semi-finalists beaten last yearare to improve that this time, there will surely be more of these times to come.
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