This is getting old now. England’s batting ineptitude is almost boring. What more can we say that we haven’t already said ten times before? The batting order is a complete mess. I pretty much disagree with every move Ed Smith and Bayliss have made, simply cannot understand how two experienced cricketing minds have made such nonsensical decisions, and if I had any hair left I’d definitely pull it out. Fortunately for my hoover it fell out years ago due to the stress Smith’s predecessors exposed me to.
Is it any surprise that the results are so poor when the structure is so unstable? England keep picking two out of form openers (when Rory Burns is a viable alternative); we have our best player at 3 when he’s better at 4; a wicket-keeper batsman playing purely as a batsman at 4 when he’s best at 6 (not to mention injured); an all-rounder who’s a 6 or 7 at 5, and a player who made a double century batting at 3 for his county last week coming in at 7. I understand it’s problematic when you have plenty of attacking batsmen ideally suited to fourth drop in your side, but at some point you’ve just got to leave talented players out and select a balanced XI. At least there would be clarity and sense that way.
Although today was a groundhog horror show, at least some of the individual dismissals were a bit different. Jennings is just embarrassing now. His dismissal reminded me a bit of that time Chris Read ducked a Cairns full toss and was bowled. His England career ended soon afterwards I recall. Meanwhile, Cook played perhaps the most curious shot of his long test career. He basically played a one-day poke it down to third man for a single shot, and completely forgot the occasion. Duh!
Jonny and Root got decent balls, so credit to India’s impressive seamers (who were excellent) there, but Buttler played a horrible shot. In fact he played a horrible innings. He was all hands, no foot movement, and it was no surprise when he drove loosely at a wide(ish) ball with his front foot firmly planted nowhere near the pitch of the ball and got caught behind. It was so disappointing to see Jos regress so much. He played so well at Trent Bridge and I really thought he’d figured things out. Perhaps that judgement was premature?
The fact it was Moeen and Curran who dug England out of their hole summed it up really: two players deemed surplus to requirements at Nottingham were suddenly the crucial lynchpins. I guess nothing reveals the mess England are in, and the muddled selection that’s led to that mess, than this disturbing fact.
A word on Sam Curran before I go off to wallow in my ugly pit of despair. What another impressive innings. His batting immediately caught my eye on debut when he played a cameo that included perhaps the shot of the day – a lovely straight drive down the ground. He’s since shown he can play all around the wicket, with a touch of panache, and possesses a pretty sound defence too.
No England batsman looked more composed or organised than young Sam today. Let’s not forget, however, that’s he’s been picked for his bowling not his batting. And we all know what happened to Dom Bess after he looked so good with the bat against Pakistan earlier this summer.