English cricket has been a laughing stock in recent times but the Ben Stokes-led revolution has been nothing short of remarkable.

England’s new red-ball head coach Brendon McCullum insisted he had nothing on the aggression of captain Ben Stokes after overseeing a stunning 3-0 whitewash of his native New Zealand during his first series in charge.

McCullum was known for a dynamic approach when captain of New Zealand and the attacking mindset now dubbed “Baz ball”, in deference to his nickname, was in evidence again during the third Test at Headingley on Monday.

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England, after rain washed out the final morning’s session, took just 15.2 overs to score the remaining 113 runs they required to reach a target of 296 for a seven-wicket victory that followed a pair of five-wicket triumphs over the Test world champions at Lord’s and Trent Bridge.

Jonny Bairstow made a blistering 71 not out on Monday — England’s second-quickest Test fifty of all time — and shared an unbroken stand of 111 with former captain Joe Root (86 not out).

Bairstow’s innings followed a majestic 162 that revived England from the depths of 6/55 in their first innings.

It was all a far cry from the timid play that had so often characterised England’s performances during a run of one win in 17 Tests prior to this series — which included a shambolic Ashes series defeat to Australia last summer.

That rotten return led to Root’s resignation as captain after team director Ashley Giles and coach Chris Silverwood were sacked following the woeful Ashes series loss Down Under.

McCullum, however, insisted he had not “done a great lot” while England were whitewashing New Zealand.

“I am aggressive but I think Ben has got me covered,” McCullum told the BBC. “He is really pushing the envelope and sending a strong message that this is how the team will play.”

Stokes added: “To walk away with a 3-0 series win against the best team in the world is a pretty special start.

“When I took over this job it was about more than results — it was about changing the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket, having fun, enjoying representing your country. Then the results will look after themselves.

“To say we’ve done it so quickly is unbelievable.”

The rest of the cricket world was in awe of England’s turnaround. English sports writer Paul Newman tweeted: “Can’t quite believe what I have watched over the last three Tests. Stunning from England. Incredible, transformative approach to Test cricket.

“Yes, there will be bumps in the road but they will keep on coming and it will never be dull. Bring on India.”

Broadcaster Alison Mitchell called it an “incredible Test series for England” while former skipper Michael Vaughan said the new-found aggression could “inspire a new generation of Test match cricket fans”

Vaughan also described Bairstow’s batting as on a “different planet”, after the middle order star belted 394 runs from 328 balls in the series.

CricViz analyst Ben Jones tweeted: “Spanking the WTC winners 3-0, with three record bothering chases, all involving an element of chaotic comeback. The Ben Stokes & Brendon McCullum era might not get better than this — but that still leaves them plenty of room to party.”

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who missed the second Test with a bout of Covid-19, was left to rue a lack of top-order runs, including from his own bat.

But despite having missed several New Zealand matches in the 12 months since leading the Black Caps to victory over India in the inaugural World Test Championship final because of a longstanding elbow injury, the 31-year-old star batsman had no thought of standing down as skipper.

“I certainly love playing for this group and being their leader,” he said. “It has been an interesting time and challenging, but the appetite is still there from me.

“It’s been an incredible series. In all three matches we had our opportunities and we were ahead of the game at times in each one but credit to England, they chose to counter-attack when they were under pressure and they did it well, especially in this match.”

England will not have long to rest on their laurels, however, with the Covid-delayed final Test of last year’s series against India starting at Edgbaston on Friday.

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