A day on from England’s capitulation in Dubai, it still seems hard to digest. What went wrong? I guess only the playing and coaching staff know.
I still expect England to have a say in this series, but winning it 2-1 is now a very tough ask, even for a side who reached the heights they did a short while back.
Maybe this will act as a wake-up call to the side. A kick up the backside if you will. Having reached the summit of the test arena, the England side had a few months off (not using that as an excuse) but the honey-moon-period is now well and truly over. They must regroup, and they must do it fast, if they want to get any change out of a well drilled Pakistan outfit.
This test has been a wake-up call, yes, but great sides of the past have never needed such a thing. The West Indian sides of the past along with the Aussies wouldn’t have come in to the series under-cooked.
But being under-cooked probably wasn’t the problem. It was Pakistan’s brilliance that arguably cost them the game.
Preparation seemed to have gone well in the build up to the first test. Two wins in two warm up games, a ton for Alistair Cook and wickets for a number of the bowlers. It couldn’t have been any more ideal. But when the real stuff started it was Pakistan that took the initiative; once they had it, they ran with it.
This now becomes a real test of England’s resolve. With Flower at the helm, there will surely be a reaction, but to turn things around in less than a week will be no mean feat.
England will need to find a solution to their evident problems against spin. Saeed Ajmal is bowling brilliantly, but for England to stand a chance in the final two test matches they need to find a way to quell him and his ‘doosra’.
Despite his genius, England’s batsmen didn’t help themselves.
Throughout 2011 all of the team received great plaudits; and so they should have. They were simply brilliant from start to finish. The batsmen in particular were in fine fettle. A number of them now need to find those heady heights once more, before the side find themselves two down. I can’t see England’s batting line up failing three times in a row. The likes of Cook, Strauss,Bell and Trott just won’t let it happen – they are made of stern stuff.
The bowlers did their job. On a difficult pitch they worked hard; they created pressure in partnerships. Despite not picking five bowlers, the four pronged attack did the business and for that they should be commended. If the team had scored 350 in the first innings, it would have been a completely different game.
But for England to succeed in the second test the batsmen need to find form. The bowlers need to continue doing what they are doing.
Before the series started England wouldn’t have thought about losing; they would’ve been focussing on a big series win. Now it seems they must settle for second best. A draw from here would be a good result. How things can change in a week…