Cricket: England bounce back
It is a curious sport that sees a team obliterated one week, then “dominant to equal degree the next”, said Mike Atherton in The Times. But having been hammered at Lord’s by Pakistan last week, England recovered on Sunday to win the second and final Test at Headingley by an innings and 55 runs. It was a welcome victory, after a sorry run of six defeats in their previous eight Tests. It would be wrong, however, to draw too many conclusions from the match: “desperate” in the first Test, excellent in the second, England are really somewhere in the middle.
It was Jos Buttler who made the difference, said Ali Martin in The Guardian. Recalled after an 18-month exile from Test cricket, this “uber-talent” scored 80 not out, his second successive half-century; had he not run out of batting partners, a maiden Test century “would surely have followed”. In the first half of his innings, the 27-yearold was remarkably “stoic in defence”; in the second half, however, he let loose the “rocket-fuelled” batting with which he has lit up the Indian Premier League. Buttler has already had a crucial influence on the side, said Simon Hughes in The Sunday Times. In the first Test, he was the only batsman who tried “strolling up the pitch”, batting further forward than normal. It’s a technique that “reduces the possibility of LBWS” and, when employed effectively, it can make bowlers feel “impotent”. In the second Test, other batsmen followed Buttler’s example – and England were rewarded with a score of 363. It was a promising show, too, by Dominic Bess, the 20-yearold spinner, said Lawrence Booth in the Daily Mail. Having made his debut in the first Test, he scored a “composed” 49, before taking three wickets for 33 runs. A cheery, energetic player, Bess may be the solution to England’s spin woes.