England batter - Alex Lees - from tortoise to hare at top of the order


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  1. #1
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    England batter - Alex Lees - from tortoise to hare at top of the order

    'Bazball' has sparked English Test cricket back into life, with opener Alex Lees one of its biggest beneficiaries.

    Gone is the player that batted in tortoise-like fashion during his debut series in the West Indies in March, when his strike rate was below 28.

    Lees is now the hare, picking up his runs at a strike rate of 50 during the 3-0 series sweep over New Zealand and then at a whopping 86.15 in a tone-setting 56 from 65 deliveries against India at Edgbaston on Monday.

    As the left-hander and opening partner Zak Crawley strolled out to begin England's record run chase of 378, even the most optimistic soul would have accepted their hopes of victory were slim.

    Less than 20 overs later, WinViz made England favourites, with Lees having bossed a rapid hundred partnership with Crawley. He clinched the half-century stand inside nine overs with a reverse sweep.

    In terms of his own half-century, that came from just 44 deliveries - the fourth-fastest by an England opener in Test cricket.

    This is a new and emboldened Alex Lees.

    Let's not forget that he also played his part in that riotous run chase at Trent Bridge a few weeks ago. Jonny Bairstow's brutal 77-ball ton obviously hogged the headlines but Lees' 44, during which he hit three boundaries off Tim Southee in the first over, signalled England's intent.

    Speaking to Sky Sports Cricket at stumps, Lees said of coming out to bat at Edgbaston: "I just wanted to try and give it a good whack, to he honest!

    "The backing from Ben [Stokes] and Baz [Brendon McCullum] has accelerated that aggressive intent and the manner in which I am playing.

    "The numbers are still not where I would like them to be. I want to score big hundreds - that is my role as an opening batter."

    Reflecting on Lees' speedy Edgbaston fifty, Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain said: "He played out of his skin. He set the tone by charging down to [Mohammed] Shami's second delivery and hitting a boundary.

    "I think he has watched his captain, Stokes, and thought, 'I am having a bit of this'. He was controlled, disciplined and technically-sound and immediately put India's bowlers on the back foot.

    "He didn't let [spinner Ravindra] Jadeja settle, first ball to him he came down the pitch and he then manoeuvred the field. I think it shows he has been told to go out and express himself.

    "I think this is how he used to play when he started at Yorkshire.

    "He perhaps felt he then had to play a certain way in international cricket [in the West Indies] but Brendon McCullum has said, 'no, none of that nonsense, go and express yourself'."

    The problem with Lees' opening partner Crawley is that he has possibly trying to express himself too much.

    When he was caught on the drive off Jasprit Bumrah in the first innings, it made it four times this Test summer that he had nicked off in the channel outside off stump.

    "Put away the drive early on" was the clarion call from pundits and Crawley appeared to heed that advice in his second dig at Edgbaston.

    "For me, it was about the shots Lees played and the ones Crawley didn't," added Hussain. "India bowled where Crawley has been getting out but he left it and was so patient.

    "I know in the end a leave got him out [he was bowled shouldering arms to a nip-backer from Bumrah] but if he can leave the ball up front it means bowlers have to go straighter to him and bowl to his strengths.

    "Anyone who has seen Crawley bat over the years knows he is very strong on middle and off stump.

    "Then, when the ball stops moving, he can drive on the up - he has earned the right to get that big booming drive out. If Crawley leaves like he has today, he will have a much longer Test career."

    England remain on course to wrap up this record run chase - Bairstow and Joe Root taking them 119 runs shy of victory by stumps on day four - and if the hosts are successful, Lees and Crawley deserve a pat on the back.

    https://www.skysports.com/cricket/ne...p-of-the-order


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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    His early record is still being damaged by his poor debut series in the West Indies (averaged 20), but McCullum and Stokes clearly see something in him and he seems to be improving (averaged 30 since then). Needs to get his average up to 40. He can be a really useful opener for England in the quick-start mould.

  4. #4
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    He seems to be another piece of the England jigsaw.

    Next Ashes XI…

    Lees
    Compo III
    His Holiness
    66
    YJB
    Stokes
    Foakes
    Woakes
    Robinson
    Wood or Mahmood
    Leach

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    He seems to be another piece of the England jigsaw.

    Next Ashes XI…

    Lees
    Compo III
    His Holiness
    66
    YJB
    Stokes
    Foakes
    Woakes
    Robinson
    Wood or Mahmood
    Leach
    Leesinator
    Downton Abbey
    The Pontiff
    66
    YJB
    Benjamina*
    Foakester+
    Robbo
    Saq
    Leachy
    The Incredible Jimmy

    12th man: Brook The Destroyer

  6. #6
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    Looks like a spitting image of Alaister Cook when he is batting.

  7. #7
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    High quality player when batting free flow

  8. #8
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    Doesn't look top quality to me yet. If he can play more knocks like the one he played yesterday I'll rate him.

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