Good bowling exacerbates uncertainty. This is a very inexperienced England batting line-up and it therefore has good cause for self-doubt – particularly in unfamiliar conditions. When confronted with the contrasting threats of Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah, it was no surprise that it collapsed in on itself like a cheap bike tyre punctured by a thorn.
We floated the possibility that an England batting collapse might happen as long ago as yesterday – and not for no reason. Here are England’s batting averages for the last 12 months. You can see that Alastair Cook and Joe Root have scored roughly twice as many runs at twice the average of the third most successful batsman, Ben Stokes. Beneath him, England possess a whole slew of number eight batsmen, it would seem.
This isn’t entirely an unfair assessment. As has been pointed out, very few of England’s batsmen are actually specialists. Maybe the modern thirst for three-dimensionality has ushered us into the era of the jack-of-all-trades cricketer. Perhaps one or two might like to remove strings from their bows and instead focus their efforts on just one aspect of the game. It worked for Bradman.