Over rates and now run rates. England are in no hurry. Whatever the motivation, it doesn’t make for much of a spectacle.
A team batting for a draw can make for riveting entertainment, but it’s tension that makes the cricket so compelling. When a team is batting for a draw in their first innings, there is no tension. Quite frankly, if this is an actual policy from England, they deserve to lose.
The generous assessment is that they’re responding to circumstance; that they truly feel this is the best way to play on a slow pitch, chasing a big Australian total, with a 3-0 series lead. However, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that justifiable caution has spread like a virus inside the minds of the batsmen, cannibalising all other thoughts.
Stuart Broad spoke of throwing punches and ‘damaging players’ before this Test. Perhaps the second part of that was meant literally and England are hoping Australia’s bowlers develop stress fractures. The psychological damage inflicted could only possibly result from sensory deprivation.