England’s second innings top order batting collapse was pretty piss-poor, but it was just as big a crime to get themselves into that position in the first place.
Neither set of bowlers were exceptional in the first Test. The exceptional performance came from Australia’s batsmen, who were sublime. There was barely a single mistake from all of them combined. It was cold, relentless and quite, quite brilliant. It wasn’t eye-catchingly brilliant, but it was almost superhuman in its level of efficiency.
That batting performance got them the second innings wickets because it created that nerve-wracking situation for the England batsmen and as Bert so sagely pointed out yesterday:
“English batsmen spend their formative years playing in the vacuum that is county cricket. No press, no fans, no interest and absolutely no pressure.”
England had a chance to create a similar situation for Australia when they batted first and they failed.
England’s first innings 435 was a reasonable score, but it wasn’t a killer score, which is what the Australians managed. A killer score, keeping the Aussies out in the field for far longer, would have made it all the harder for them when they batted. It’s a team game: a side’s batting affects its bowling and vice versa. Another 100 first innings runs could have led to 100 fewer runs from Australia.
England have got to set themselves higher standards.