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Maiden victory in Edgbaston to horror-show in Auckland: A look at England’s journey in Day-Night Tests

Source: Twitter (ICC)

India have had their struggles in pink-ball Tests of late but England haven’t been good either when it comes to their day-night affairs.

England will play their fourth Day-Night Test as they take on India in the third match of the ongoing series, in Ahmedabad, with the series equally poised at 1-1. India have had their struggles in pink-ball Tests of late. The horrors of their dismal show in Adelaide is fresh in their minds. But England haven’t been good either when it comes to day-night Tests. Overall, they have played three, winning only one of them while losing twice. Here, we shall take a look at their performances in these matches.

Won vs West Indies by an innings and 209 runs | Birmingham, August 2017

This was England’s maiden pink-ball Test, and they completely dominated the visiting Caribbean team. Alastair Cook was the star of the match as he played an outstanding knock of 243. Skipper Joe Root smashed 136 runs off just 189 deliveries as well. They powered England to a massive first innings total of 514/8, after which they declared their innings. 

West Indies in response could only manage totals of 168 and 137 in their two outings. None of their batsmen showed the resolve to bat for long hours except Jermaine Blackwood, who remained unbeaten on 79 in the first innings. Among England bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad both picked up five wickets in the match, whereas Toby Roland-Jones and Moeen Ali chipped in with four and three wickets respectively.

Lost to Australia by 120 runs | Adelaide, December 2017

England’s next day-night Test assignment was during the Ashes that December. It was the second Test match of the series, and England were under pressure having lost the first Test. Things started off on a good note for England as Root won the toss and the English bowlers sent half of Australia’s batsmen with just 209 runs on the board as well. However, Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 126, Tim Paine’s commanding knock of 57 and Pat Cummins’ fighting 44 snatched the momentum away from them.

Australia managed to reach a total of 442/8, after which they declared. England, in response, managed only a total of 227 runs, with the highest score coming from their No. 9 Craig Overton (41*). The hosts, however, didn’t enforce the follow-on as they wanted to extend their lead. But a superb opening spell by Anderson (5-43) and Chris Woakes (4-36) helped England to bundle Australia out for just 138. 

Their bowling performance raised the English hopes. However, things still didn’t go in their favour as Mitchell Starc’s five-wicket haul bowled them out for just 233 once again. Only Root (67) showed the resolve to fight as far as the English batsmen are considered. 

Lost to New Zealand by an innings and 49 runs | Auckland, March 2018

When England played their third Day-Night Test just three months after being outplayed in Adelaide, they couldn’t have imagined that this performance would be far worse. It was the first match of the series, and it couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for England.

Trent Boult (6-32) and Tim Southee (4-25) ran through England, bowling them out for a paltry 58. England’s entire innings lasted for just 20.4 overs. They were 27/9 at one point. New Zealand didn’t have any problem in batting as they declared their innings on 427/8 with Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls smashing hundreds.

England came up with a much better batting effort in the second outing but it still didn’t turn out to be enough. They were bowled out for 320. Three of their batsmen – Mark Stoneman, Ben Stokes and Woakes – scored fifties. But the Kiwi seamers didn’t let anyone convert those knocks into big scores.

Prasenjit Dey is freelance cricket journalist based out of Kolkata, India. Cricket runs through his veins and writing has always been his passion. He is now a part of both worlds, trying to make a difference by writing on the nitty-gritty of the game.

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