Foun­da­tions for Test side are now the strong­est in years

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Michael Vaughan

First of all, we must give a huge amount of credit to Eng­land for deal­ing with the biose­cure bub­ble for weeks and still de­liv­er­ing high-level, dis­ci­plined per­for­mances to beat West Indies.

The past two games pro­vide the blueprint for how Eng­land should play Test cricket. It is about hard, dis­ci­plined bat­ting for pe­ri­ods of time, see­ing off spells of bowl­ing, wear­ing bowlers down and mak­ing sure the bats­men, on any pitch, guide the team to at least a par score.

With the ball in hand, it is about re­lent­less dis­ci­pline out­side off stump and bowl­ing dots. By do­ing that they build pres­sure, in­duc­ing mis­takes from bats­men.

It is a sim­ple for­mula and has stood the test of time in Test cricket. Eng­land do not need to go away from it, but they will be tested fur­ther by bet­ter teams.

We owe West Indies a great deal. You could say they saved the game in Eng­land. If they had not agreed to come, Pak­istan would have been un­likely to tour here ei­ther. With­out them where would we be? The game in Eng­land would have lost mil­lions.

I hope that, in time, the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil and Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board will have a look at the hand­outs and even up the cash. West Indies should get a nice se­ries from Eng­land or a hand­out to help their fa­cil­i­ties. We all know from be­ing in the Caribbean in re­cent years that they need help. There is also more money in the global game than ever. There is no ex­cuse for West Indies not re­ceiv­ing their fair share.

We need to be care­ful not to over­praise Eng­land. So far, they have played 2020 in a good fash­ion, beat­ing South Africa away and West Indies.

I guess the ques­tion marks are still there. Do they have enough when the ball does not move around? What is go­ing to hap­pen when they need a spin­ner to take wick­ets? Can this bat­ting unit make par scores bat­ting sec­ond and against a top-qual­ity bowl­ing at­tack?

Those are go­ing to be the chal­lenges for them. But I like what I am see­ing. I like Chris Sil­ver­wood’s ethos. I be­lieve the ac­tual build­ing blocks and foun­da­tions for the Test team are in a bet­ter po­si­tion than for many years.

The hard thing is go­ing to be how to man­age the fi­nal days of this leg­endary pair of bowlers. How do they get through the next cou­ple of years with Stuart Broad and James An­der­son? When will they re­tire? They say they want to carry on, but we know with se­nior play­ers that they can sud­denly say enough is enough.

Ed Smith, Joe Root and Sil­ver­wood have to know when to pick them and when to leave them out. Can they get the likes of Chris Woakes (below) to take over the man­tle of one of those two, so Eng­land lose only half the part­ner­ship’s ef­fec­tive­ness if they go to­gether?

One of the ma­jorly pleas­ing things is that Eng­land won the third Test and we barely men­tioned Ben Stokes. The only time we did was when he dropped a catch. Over the past two years, Eng­land’s cricket has been dom­i­nated by him. It is a good sign they won con­vinc­ingly with­out their best player be­ing in­volved.

Jofra Archer bowled OK in the fi­nal Test but he did not look at his best. I did not see one of those elec­tric spells that we saw at Southamp­ton in the first Test, or at Lord’s last year against Aus­tralia. He has pace and bounce but it is worth work­ing with the bowl­ing coaches, as well as An­der­son and Broad, to learn more skill. I have been sur­prised by his lack of move­ment. He could do a bit more with the Dukes ball and that would give him more chance of get­ting lbw, bowled and caught be­hind.

Jos Buttler played nicely and did enough in the third Test. He will play the Pak­istan se­ries now. I do not think there will be ma­jor changes for the first Test and it would not sur­prise me to see the same side.

If this is Eng­land’s best at­tack, which is what Sil­ver­wood said he was go­ing to pick for the third Test, why not pick the same again against Pak­istan? Do not rely on com­ing back from 1-0 down. If they go 1-0 down to Pak­istan, I would be amazed if they won the se­ries.

Com­ing back against West Indies is one thing but against Pak­istan it is a dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion. They have a bet­ter bat­ting line-up; Babar Azam and Azhar Ali are world-class. They will score more runs than West Indies, so Eng­land will be un­der more pres­sure.

Over­all, it should be a good se­ries. The weather might im­prove, giv­ing us drier sur­faces. We might see spin and re­verse swing. We could be in for a clas­sic.

We owe West Indies a great deal. You could say they saved the game in Eng­land

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