Resolve is a finite resource

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2 minute read

Absolutely true. You don’t possess a bottomless pit of willpower. It’s why New Year’s resolutions fizzle out. It’s why you can only resist easily-accessible snack food for so long. Anything that takes mental effort drains your resources and without time to recuperate, eventually you’ll have nothing left.

Winning is easy. Winning is no effort at all. Once you’re ahead, you need little motivation. You can just play. Losing is hard. Trying to motivate yourself when you know, deep down, that you’re already unlikely to win takes rather a lot of effort. Find yourself in that position for long enough and eventually the well will run dry.

After day one of the second Test, Australia were 337-1. Clearly they hadn’t won, but they were massively, massively ahead. Maybe England retained a 10 per cent chance of victory. It is harder to motivate yourself when you only have a 10 per cent chance of victory.

At the end of day two, Australia had made 566 and England were 85-4. They probably didn’t even have a one per cent chance of victory now and they had maybe a 20 per cent chance of salvaging a draw. It is hard to motivate yourself to play for a draw. It is harder still to play for the outside chance of a draw.

At the end of day three, Australia were batting for a declaration and there was nothing England could realistically do but wait and maybe try and slow them down a bit. It is very hard to motivate yourself to try and slow down the opposition in the hope that you might postpone their declaration for long enough that maybe, hopefully, some bad weather will arrive and save you.

On day four, Australia declared. England needed 509 to win and they needed to find some resolve.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. So we didn’t win or even get close to not losing, simply because Australia were winning too hard? What about momentum? We’re a shoo-in for that third test with all that negative momentum we’ve accumulated.

  2. So what now? People are actually non-ironically saying things like ‘RIP English cricket’ and suggesting dropping Lyth, Bell, Ali and Ballance for Hales, Bell-Drummond, Bairstow and Borthwick. Seriously.

    One thing’s for sure – if you want to enhance your reputation as a cricketer, stay away from the England Test team.

    1. Bell-Drummond?

      I mean, I can kind of understand some of the others, but – Bell-Drummond!?

    2. Bell-Drummond?

      Is that like Brundlefly? Who is Drummond?

      The same players were great when they won the first test easily. No sense in knee jerk reactions. Nobody obvious to come in except perhaps Bairstow, and do you really think he’s improve the side?

    3. Let’s be fair here: Lyth, Ballance, and Bell were not “great”.

      Lyth has had one significant score as opener in Test cricket. Sam Robson got seven Tests against a much weaker attack. Give him another three.

      Ballance scored a fifty last Test, but otherwise has looked a bit shot. I like him, he’s got an astonishing record in his first few Test or so, but I’m worried that he’s now showing that he’s not good enough against truly good bowling. Few batsmen do, of course; but on this pitch in particular, that’s worrying.

      For Bell, C+P Ballance’s first sentence. He’s got a longer record of successes and failures, but the Bell from two years ago seems to be AWoL.

      (Moe is brill.)

      Even going back to 2013, England’s first three wickets have had a worrying trend of buckling cheaply. Not sure what the solution to that is – it’s not chopping and changing, but I’m not sure it’s these three either.

      Final verdict would probably be Root -> 4, Bairstow at 5, and in a Daneel-pleasing move, drop Bell. But God knows I’m no selector.

    4. Of course, it’s all irrelevant because the team that wins the toss at Lord’s wins the Test anyway. England might have just fancied a day off and thought they’d hasten the inevitable.

  3. Resolve is over-rated. Panic and brain-fades are more fun.

    It’s Aussie turn next test match.

    At this rate it will be 3-2 to England.

    Unless Clarke wins the toss but then again, it’s not his turn.

  4. That top 4. Is that really the best all of England and its county cricket has currently? and next best is Bairstow, and next next best is another shot at Morgan?

    1. Everyone always seems better when they’re not in the team. Just a few short months ago we were wetting ourselves over why Lyth wasn’t being picked.

      Bairstow has done all he can in county cricket, but you can imagine him getting bounced out by the Mitches in short order.

      Having said that, Ballance looks horribly out of form.

      In summary, no idea.

  5. Robson Jr in for Lyth.

    Robson Sr to open with him, drop Ballance and move Cook to 3.

    Key in for Bell, Geraint Jones for Buttler, Sidebottom for Anderson, and Footitt for Wood.

  6. Drop everyone. That would be equitable, from an equal treatment point of view.

    We liked those Kiwi fellows. Why don’t we naturalise them all (most of them have got British grandparents anyway) and play them as the England side for the next match?

    1. Does your life “include pranks, buffoonery . . . intoxication, sabotage, taboo-breaking, playing childish and/or dangerous games, waking up dead gods, and not taking education seriously?”

  7. Clearly England failed to execute their skillsets as a unit. The most important question England need to ask now is how is this KP’s fault?

    1. Because if he’d been better able to get on with his England team mates, he would still be in the team and providing a measure of consistency that the top 4 misses so badly.

      Put simply, it’s all KP’s fault that he wasn’t there to save England’s behinds at Lord’s. Assuming of course that being put through England’s international schedule last year wouldn’t have buggered his already crocked knee.

  8. If it wasn’t KP’s fault, whose fault was it? Come on, own up – which one of you said Alastair Cook is a loser who doesn’t have any friends and who wears smelly underpants? You all know he’s a sensitive boy and picking on him makes him and all his teammates rubbish at cricket, so it’s just nasty.

    Come on, who was it? I can wait all day if I have to.

    1. While I do follow CC, I have to admit that I’m most interested in it as fashioning future England players. Not saying it’s not important, but Bairstow’s England prospects are probably more interesting to your average Cricinfo viewer, and phrasing the article in that way will get more readers.

    2. Disappointingly no reference to Rob Key’s frankly undeniable claim to Lyth’s spot in any write-up I’ve seen. Averaging a terrifying 71 opening this season

  9. England’s loss is obvioulsy Alistair Cooks fault. He should have tossed the coin far better than he did knowing that the Austratlians were going to call heads. He should be sacked as captain and a better tosser brought in.

  10. 291 for James Taylor. Timely.

    All together now…

    “Ooh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.”

    1. Only one batsmen with a double hundred? That’s just weak.

      All together now…

      In my mind them Lancs is simply finer
      Can’t you hear them Notts whine
      One double is not so fine
      The standard we can define
      Is for at two batsmen to get double hundreds in the same innings so screw you Chris Read and all your rubbishy mates

      Yes I’m going to Lancashina in my mind

    2. A first division double-hundred is worth three double-hundreds in the second division.


      You know that, Bert. You of all people, with your maths skills and cricket knowledge combined. You just flagrantly choose to ignore the facts. Any batsman named Petersen/Pietersen or whatever and you go off on one.

      So, as Joe Root must have said to one batsman after another yesterday afternoon, “you’ve got to help me make a stand, you’ve just got to see me through another day, my body’s aching and my time is at hand and I won’t make it any other way”.

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