cricket / short form

What is eating England?

Instances of New Zealand doing well in test cricket are rare, so attributing the cause of their success is always difficult. It is tempting to trot out the usual cliches about turning a corner, turning the page, turning over a new leaf. To a degree it seems to be true, there does seem to be something different about this New Zealand team. Three and a half games worth of parity against England would suggest that there is.

But the pessimist in me disagrees. New Zealand are playing well, but they are being flattered by a frankly mediocre England team. There may still be world class players in the English setup, but they are playing a very lacklustre brand of cricket. The batsmen, so effective at churning out centuries when they last played Australia, have lost their formidable, undismissable aura, even though it is largely the same players on the team sheet.

Not only is it evident in their painfully slow scoring rates, it shows in the way so many of them have been getting out to Bruce Martin. Really, if he is dismissing you, you aren’t trying hard enough. Martin takes wickets through enticing stupid decisions from batsmen, and the English have repeatedly obliged.

Are they missing Pietersen? Perhaps, but given that nobody seems to like him probably not. Is it the inexperienced middle order who are letting them down? Root and Bairstow have failed to turn their county form into test success, which is odd given that on paper New Zealand has the bowling attack of a good county side. Bell, bar one fantastic defensive innings in Auckland, has been atrocious, as bad as when he was Shane Warne’s bunny. Even Trott hasn’t been his usual obdurate self.

To put it simply, don’t bet the farm on England in the Ashes this year. If they play like this the Australians will walk all over them. England’s ranking of No2 in the test world is starting to look in doubt, and perhaps soon they won’t even hold it anymore. England need to rediscover their motivation, their fighting spirit, before they lose a team that took a decade to build.

3 thoughts on “What is eating England?

  1. I get the feeling that the English, even though they will deny it, are thinking two test matches ahead. Here’s hoping that New Zealand can make them see the folly of their ways, and gain a significant first innings advantage when play resumes this evening.

  2. We are garbage, basically. If Cook doesn’t get a ton, I’m not sure who does these days.Half the bowling attack (Broad/Finn) is pretty toothless…the whole team seems geared towards negativity.

  3. @Inv2 – You’re probably right, this is an unimportant series compared to the one coming up. Still, you can only play the team in front of you and Ashes places are up for grabs in this series.

    @Wrongun- Cook and Compton is still up there with the best opening partnerships in the world, and the bowling attack has days of incredible effectiveness. Negativity would be right, the scoring rates are as bad as the worst days of Chris Tavare and Boycott.

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