I could put a spin on things and say that in the 1st test England were a bit rusty, in the 2nd test we dominated things until the final day, and in the 3rd test we just had nothing to play for – but that would be a load of bollocks.
Fair’s fair, a spade is a spade on this blog and credit goes where credit is due. And the facts are, that Pakistan comprehensively outplayed England over the 3 tests and fully deserved their 3-0 whitewash.
No excuses, none of this rubbish about Ajmal’s action, it was a good old fashioned hammering, brought on by a combination of home conditions, good responsible leadership and an excellent well balanced Pakistan team.
It would now appear that there are 5 evenly matched competitive teams in test cricket, Pakistan, England, India, Australia and South Africa.
People will debate about who is better than who, but in my view they are all of similar ability. All are strong at home and all are decent in their own conditions, while some don’t travel too well and some can’t play at all in differing conditions.
It will be an interesting next 12-18 months to see if one team will emerge from the pack as the outstanding side.
Onto England, and I’ve said it on this blog for a few years now – if the batsmen can put the runs on the board, then the bowlers are good enough to win us the test matches.
Since Trott and Broad put together that massive 332 run partnership against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, England’s batting has gone from strength to strength, that’s why we have won as many test matches as we have lately, and as soon as it starts misfiring again, this is what happens.
I expected our batsmen to struggle a bit in this series, but not to this extent. On the whole they all struggled, I half expected Trott and Morgan might, as they haven’t really toured in these conditions before, but the rest…
Bell didn’t know what end of the bat he was using, and he is supposed to be our most technically sound batsman, he must be embarrassed at how stupid Ajmal has made him look.
Pietersen can’t get to grips at all with slow left armers – this could be starting to become a fatal flaw for him, Strauss has been struggling for some time now, while Cook at least showed glimpses of what he is capable of.
I don’t expect massive changes in the batting for Sri Lanka, and in fairness they have built up some credit over the years and deserve some loyalty. I suppose only Eoin Morgan’s place will be questioned, and lets be honest the only alternative, Ravi Bopara, has hardly demanded to be picked with his performances, has he?
Onto the ODI squad for the remainder of this tour and I have no problem with Ian Bell being left out, he has no place in the middle order, so unless he is going to open there is little point in keeping him in the squad.
A top 3 of Cook, Bell and Trott probably wouldn’t strike fear into anybody, which is why I’m happy to see Kevin Pietersen opening the batting instead. I think this is a good positive move and I really hope England stick with it and give him and Cook a run together and a chance to really build a partnership.
Pietersen opening also gives him the chance to play himself in against the seamers, it would be a hell of a brave captain who gives his slow left arm bowler the new ball in 50 over cricket.
I’m happy to see Jonny Bairstow retained, and call ups for Danny Briggs and Jos Buttler, the middle order needs a hitter like Bairstow or Buttler, or maybe even Kieswetter for that matter. Kieswetter is a lucky boy to retain his place and needs to make a significant contribution in this series.
And finally Samit Patel, I would like to see England really back him and give him a run in this side to give him the chance to prove himself. I do believe he could be a really handy cricketer if things click for him.