When asked about the make-up of England’s bowling attack for the second Test at Trent Bridge, Andrew Strauss said it was a ground where the ball tended to swing, so they’d selected the three best swing bowlers.
This begs the question, just what is the optimum number of eggs to have in one basket? The fact is that on the first day of the second Test, the ball didn’t swing. Picking three right-arm swing bowlers seemed akin to not picking a spinner. England weren’t covering all bases.
Fortunately, they had most of them covered and that proved to be enough, because while you sometimes need to bring a player into a side to fill a gap, in many cases one bowler will provide several different things. Broad, for example, is tall and can bowl quickly as well as being a decent swing bowler, while Bresnan bowls reverse swing as well as the more conventional kind.
However, while England won this match, that doesn’t mean everything was perfect. Does the fact that England’s third swing bowler took eight wickets in the match justify the team selection or does it draw attention away from the bowling attack’s long period of impotence on the first day?
Or is this just balls? Is it more about the 11 selected players making the best of whatever situations they find themselves in?