The more batsmen England pick, the fewer they have

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The big question before this fourth Test was could England’s batsmen start making some runs and maybe win a few more Tests?

When the answer revealed itself to be “no and yes” it became apparent that these were actually two separate questions.

England somehow cobbled together a half-decent first innings score while simultaneously making their batting appear even less solid. The second innings was more of the same.

In Top Gun, Maverick’s “hit the brakes and he’ll fly right by” trick is a neat one, but probably not a ploy on which to base a career. We feel similarly about England’s current approach to building totals.

26 comments

  1. Having moved on from the various players who regularly make county runs, we are now firmly in ‘which player with a mid 30s average has made runs this season’ territory.

    I would rather be looking at the ODI team, which has quite a lot of batsmen in it, at this point, which is why the idea of Hales in the middle order is growing on me.

    1. Or Hales in the top order even. Speaking of the ODI side, can’t help but feel Morgan is ten times the player Malan or Westley are as well. England might prefer him to focus on the other two formats so maybe he isn’t an option but he’d certainly improve our test batting lineup right now.

    2. Hales scored a double against an attack with one half-decent bowler who was about ninth choice for SA before going Kolpak, and suddenly he’s nailed on for number 5.

      Malan was picked on the back of LO form, and has a decent-ish FC average (38, better than Hales). Look how that turned out.

      He might be an adequate stop-gap, I suppose. But a lot of people (possibly not you Howe) seem to think they’ve found The Answer after one double-ton. In which case, Cameron Steel to play opposite Cook vs. the Windies?

      1. Possibly, though it’s perhaps not as knee-jerk a reaction as you suggest: I wouldn’t have dropped Hales in the first place as I always felt he had something and deserved one more series at least. And his replacement Duckett hardly set the world alight. For balance, I’d also have picked Scott Borthwick for that series and it all seems to have gone a little quiet on his England chances.

      2. Hales actually opted out of the Bangladesh tour. Like a time-traveller stepping on a butterfly etc and so on.

  2. On current evidence, it appears that Ryan Sidebottom’s at least the bowling equal of Ryan Sidebottom, but Ryan Sidebottom isn’t half the batsman Ryan Sidebottom is.

    1. Two Ryan Sidebottoms, there’re only Two Ryan Sidebottoms, the Warwickshire crowd down at Lord’s will undoubtedly be chanting.

      1. A few years ago Sri Lanka played two Jayawardenes in the same side.

        At the 2014 Lord’s test (which was the original Lord’s Throdkin test and also the original Johnny Friendly/Jane Austin/real tennis test) we tried to get a “two Jayawardenes” chant going at Lord’s, without success.

        That was not reported in the King Cricket pieces about that match but is Ogblogged here:

        http://ianlouisharris.com/2014/06/13/england-v-sri-lanka-day-2-lords-test-match-king-cricket-match-report-13-june-2014/

        Happy days.

      2. Tuesday 19th September – get the date in your diaries if you have them, for that’s when the two Ryan Sidebottoms will go to war at Headingley, barring injuries or sudden loss of form. Tickets are already scarce – don’t miss out!

      3. “…it was the age of Wisden, it was the age of foolish Cricinfo comments, it was the Ashes of 2005, it was the Ashes of 2006/07…”

    1. Well he comes in to bat at 9 and in a team with only one spinner he’s the second one, so I think we can now safely conclude Moeen is England’s specialist fielder.

  3. Interestingish Moeen stat this series.

    4 matches, 252 runs (HS 87, two 50s, ave 36.00, SR 71.79), 25 wickets (BBI 6/53, BBM 10/112, Ave 15.64, Econ 3.23, SR 29.0).

    There was a bit of fuss made about his “200 runs, 20 wickets” in a series milestone, particularly for a four-match series. But how much rarer is “250 runs, 25 wickets”?

    1. 25 is an auspicious number for me today, too, as it is exactly 25 years to the day that Daisy and I first met. It wasn’t the most auspicious start, though; I asked Daisy for her telephone number and she said no.

      That first encounter is probably the romance-equivalent of Graham Gooch’s double-blob first test match.

      Here’s the Ogblog story (of the day I met Daisy, not Gooch’s debut):

      http://ianlouisharris.com/1992/08/08/kim-and-mickys-party-8-august-1992/

  4. The Southern bias against Northern opening batsmen has gone too far now – even the weather in Southampton is conspiring to stop Hameed finally scoring a First Class hundred.

      1. You mean, apart from captaining his side to a thumping three-day victory over the reigning champions?

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