Eng­land top-or­der do not give in­nings any se­cu­rity

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Eng­land talk a good game but too of­ten fail to back it up with a bat­ting per­for­mance when un­der pres­sure. So many of the Eng­land play­ers say how won­der­fully en­joy­able it is in the dress­ing room these days. They play pos­i­tively and with­out fear but the fact is they are still a flaky bat­ting unit.

Un­til they bat bet­ter it does not mat­ter how good the bowlers are, par­tic­u­larly the seam­ers, they will al­ways be sus­pect.

The op­po­si­tion will look at Eng­land's bat­ting line-up and think 'if we dis­miss Alas­tair Cook and Joe Root cheaply the rest will not cause us too much trou­ble be­cause they will get them­selves out'.

Too much is ex­pected of Eng­land's late and mid­dle or­der. They con­stantly have to get the top-or­der out of jail. As a col­lec- tive, the top five do not give the in­nings any se­cu­rity. When you have Chris Woakes bat­ting at eight and show­ing more ap­pli­ca­tion, dis­ci­pline and com­po­sure than some of the top bats­men in the team, you have to ask your­self what is go­ing on?

He picked the length and vari­a­tion of the wrist spin­ner, Yasir Shah, as well, if not bet­ter, than all his other col­leagues.

Jonny Bairstow and Woakes played fan­tas­tic. But by the time they got to­gether they had too much to do. Why didn't the other bats­men show the same pa­tience and ap­pli­ca­tion in the first in­nings. Why wait un­til the team is in a hole and made a mess of bat­ting in the first in­nings be­fore play­ing prop­erly?

The game was nearly lost by then. Eng­land should take note of the way Bairstow and Woakes bat­ted against Shah. Stay in, de­fend well and make him bowl lots of overs so you tire him out. Eng­land need a bet­ter plan than just try­ing to play shots to knock him off his length. You rarely come across an op­po­si­tion that has three left-arm seam­ers slant­ing the ball across the right-hand bats­man.

But Eng­land have had time to think about this, work on it in the nets and un­der­stand what ar­eas are safe to score in and what shots are naive.

Alex Hales plays crack­ing good shots but can­not re­sist hav­ing a dart at wide balls. His foot­work is miss­ing and it cost him his wicket again. He is not the fin­ished ar­ti­cle yet.

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