Two tests in, 1–0 to India. England’s poor summer continued apace today with a shocking (sorry, appalling) collapse after lunch today to hand the visitors the initiative going forward into the rest of the series. On current evidence it would be hard to see past India winning the series.
England’s senior pros really need to stand up and be counted. Plenty has already been written about Cook – I’m not going to add to that here – but Bell needs to score some to help take the pressure off his beleaguered skipper. Prior got out to a shocker today as well – added to a mixed performance behind the stumps and a niggling injury and it may well be his last appearance in an England shirt. The bowing from Anderson and Broad has certainly been better as well. Michael Vaughan today suggested Anderson or Broad – more likely the latter – be dropped. Perhaps such a ‘nuclear’ option is needed to take the team forward in the longer-term. Certainly something needs to happen.
As I’ve written previously we appear to have lost the killer instinct. We need to get it back and fast before the summer is defined by losses to both Sri Lanka and India.
Some positives to take away from the summer so far? Joe Root appears to be really developing into a top class performer – and someone who scores runs when it really matters. His marshalling of the tail (OK on a Trent Bridge pitch rated ‘poor’ by match referee David Boon) was a class performance. He didn’t score a useful half century – instead he put a 150 score on the board when it really mattered. Moeen Ali is also becoming a mainstay of the side – a useful twirler with the leather and a dogged performer with the willow (although England need to use him a batting all-rounder and not the main spinning option). Gary Balance too has the class and technique to succeed long term at the top of the order.
Other than that England desperately need a top-class spinner – without one the side lacks balance. Can Monty be sorted out? Is there any chance Swann could come back, or is his injury just too much? If Cook gets replaced (I think he has one more test) then would that pave the way for a return to the side for bad-boy maverick (but bloomin’ good player) Kevin Pietersen to return? And although Stokes is a useful bowler he is perhaps more suited to a fifth seamer role rather than being one of only four quicks – especially if his form with the bat is somewhat lacking. His future, however, lies at international level and I for back him to succeed longer term.
All things to consider in time for Sunday’s third test…. Not happy times for England
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