Will England improve in the second Test?

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These days, there’s a lot of rubbish spoken about ‘doing your best’ and ‘aiming high’. How does anyone hope to improve with a mentality like that?

You should always set the bar as low as possible and put in only a token amount of effort. That way you’ve got plenty of room for manoeuvre.

England’s batsmen have got this right. In the first innings, only Alastair Cook and Matt Prior exhibited competence. In the second innings, Nick Compton moved towards that level and Cook and Prior moved a step further. Lo, England’s batting had improved.

And there are further grounds for optimism, because at least now somebody knows what they’re doing. Maybe if the other batsmen could spend some time at the non-striker’s end, they too might improve. Unlike recent England Test tours, run-scoring has been revealed as a credible aim.

As for the bowlers, we actually reckon that England’s seam attack could be improved by removing a third of it. If Tim Bresnan is going to persist in bowling at 75mph without really moving the ball, he could be swapped for Monty Panesar with precisely no ill-effects. Even if you ignore the significant benefits brought to the spin attack by such a move, you still get a bowler who can shoulder a greater workload which should help the remaining seam bowlers stay fresher and more effective.

It is a four-match series and a lot of our interest is in seeing whether the England team can learn quickly enough to challenge India. They started badly, but ignorance, nerves and team selection will have contributed to this and so we actually don’t feel too disheartened. We’d say we can’t wait for the second Test if it weren’t for the fact that we hate back-to-back Tests and therefore think the exact opposite.


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. Numbers don’t lie. To go from 191 to 406 was a wonderful effort – if India had exhibited such testicular fortitude, their series in England could’ve been more competitive and enjoyable to watch.

    I completely agree with bringing Monty in. This series is only going to get better. Optimism fills my ventricles.

  2. Cook is simply superb and should be an inspiration to all the other English batsmen. I do think other batsmen took a lot of courage from his innings and it showed in the second innings. However, a word of caution. The pitch was less helpful to the spinners in the second innings because of the slow bounce so that makes me wonder if England has indeed made progress in their play against spin.

  3. You think bringing Panesar in for Bresnan would result in “precisely no ill-effects”?

    I suppose batting and fielding don’t count for much then.

    (I’m just “trolling”, as the kids say. Bring back Monty. I miss his high-fiving antics.)

    1. Maybe fielding, but we don’t see Bresnan scoring runs in India really. Not unless everyone else has already done so meaning they’re not really needed.

    1. Tredwell certainly has some big trousers to fill; Key has left a huge hole. He casts an enormous shadow over Kent CCC, and indeed over Kent. Whether Tredwell is a big enough character to take on the job is open to question – Key was a huge presence both in the dressing room and on the field, and in the committee room, and the showers, and on the M2 no doubt. He’ll surely be remembered round here as a giant of a figure.

    2. He will continue to play though, won’t he? It’s just that he is an incredibly useful player to any team, standing at cover point, generating additional away swing for the bowler as the ball seeks to orbit him.

  4. I was going to suggest that Samit Patel, after 3 tests, was cementing his reputation as a bits and pieces cricketer (as, according to sam trolling is the order of the day). Unfortunately 50 runs @10 and 4 wickets @60 are figures that would have embarrassed Dermot Reeve.

    1. Don’t you even dare bring Dermot into it.

      He’s a hero.

      He never took drugs or faked autographs or anything like that.

      It’s all in your imagination.

      Shut up.

  5. This really is a “c Martin b Guptill” result for England in the subcontinent. By that, of course, I mean entirely predictable and depressing enough for me to be reaching for the whisky and service revolver.

    1. Surely “c Martin b Guptill” would be a surprising way to arrive at an entirely predictable result?

  6. Lesser Pedant, you may have a point. A pedantic one, but a point nonetheless.

    In other entirely predictable news from out here in Australia, Shane Watson is refusing to play in the second Test unless he is guaranteed that he won’t have to bowl. Unconfirmed reports have also suggested that he has asked for a cup of Horlicks to be delivered to him in his sedan chair at square-leg, along with industrial quantities of hair gel and Suisse ulti-vitamin pills, by the next most metrosexual member of the Australian cricket team.

  7. Sorry for the Martin/Guptill kerfuffle. Don’t really speak the Queen’s so well these days, now that I’ve gone all Colonel Kurtz with these damn Brisbane natives, what what!

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