On the third anniversary of England winning the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup at Lord’s, tall left-arm quick Reece Topley left a lasting impression in the second ODI against India at the home of cricket.
In defence of 246, Topley made use of seam movement, variable bounce and varied his pace to pick up 6-24, the best-ever figures by any England bowler in ODI history as India crashed to 146 all out in 38.5 overs, giving the hosts a 100-run victory.
Topley’s career-best efforts meant that England levelled the three-match series 1-1 and set the stage for a winner-takes-it-all affair at Manchester on Sunday.
Now, former England captain Nasser Hussain believes Topley justified his importance and the value he brings to England in white-ball cricket after enduring a rough run with four stress fractures to his back in five years.
“It’s an outstanding story, the way he’s gone through the ups and downs, the stress fractures. He’s bowled well in white-ball cricket of late and as well in that T20 game at Trent Bridge when everyone else was going around the park.
“It’s his place now and when you get figures like that, with so many big games coming up and England are looking for bowlers with a long list of injuries…if some bowler can stand up and continue to put in performance after performance then you’re almost saying ‘you can’t leave me out’,” said Hussain on Sky Sports after the match.
Topley was well-supported by fellow left-arm pacer David Willey, who bowled a miserly spell of 1-27 from nine overs with two maidens and the big scalp of Virat Kohli. Hussain felt the different bowling styles of Willey and Topley proved to be a testing combination for India, who couldn’t do much after being 31-4 in 11.2 overs.
“He’s (Topley) quick enough, he’s tall, he gets bounce, he’s accurate and he’s got a good left-arm companion at the other end in David Willey, so they’re a good combination. David Willey pitches it up and swings it, and Reece Topley comes in and hits the deck. You can see at the death, he’s got the variations and the balls out the back of the hand.”
Hussain signed off by pointing out that Topley used his six feet, seven inches height to good effect at Lord’s. “He’s very smart, he’s a good T20 cricketer as well, so he’s got it with the new ball and the old ball – but on a pitch like this, where they were slightly two-paced, his biggest assets are his height and hitting the deck hard.”