England embarrassed in UAE

January 30, 2012

Chris MurtaghI’m not sure who would have been hiding deeper under the covers on Saturday night, the England cricket team, or David De Gea.

Watching the Test match unfold on Saturday morning was like the bad old days (Trinidad and Ambrose). England have not played well in the sub-continent since Nasser Hussain was punching the pitch black air on Pakistan soil, after Graham Thorpe had hit the series winning runs in 2000.

The defence of England

The only way an English batsman can get selected for national honours is to score runs in county cricket. The only way you can be successful in county cricket is to prepare you technique for swing and seam bowling. Playing against spin bowling in the sub-continent is by no means an easy skill for batsmen from the shires of England.

The reality

Saturday’s performance in Abu Dhabi was inexcusable on a wicket that was not offering exaggerated spin. The first thing to say is that Pakistan bowled in partnerships and squeezed England through pressure and good field setting. The second thing to say is that England choked.

Strauss and Cook set a poor tone for England by scoring just 14 runs from 12 overs and in turn started to dig and hole for their side in which England just could not get out of. Not only could the middle order not get out of it, they grabbed their own shovels and kept digging.

Ian Bell has turned himself into a fine Test match batsman but his record against Warne, Muralitheran and Ajmal, now suggest he will never be great. If Bell struggles against top quality spin, then it’s fair to say that Pietersen is all at sea against any left arm spin. With the angle of a left arm spinner, Pietersen gets his front foot and head in totally the wrong position, meaning he must play around his front pad. Abdur Rehman must be licking his lips when he sees KP striding to the wicket.

Rehman is an orthodox spin bowler without mystery and yet he bamboozled England on Saturday. No England player used their feet to get to the pitch of the ball allowing Rehman to settle in as he pleased. Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting have demonstrated how to play spin bowling in recent times. Putting spinners under pressure through using your feet, back and forward, presents scoring opportunities.

Home comforts

We have witnessed more than ever in recent times how home advantage is everything in winning Test matches. Sub-continent sides cannot cope with pace and bounce and vice versa for all other nations when playing spin in Asia. With authorities organising shorter tours with less time to prepare for foreign conditions I expect home advantage will continue to give the bookies big clues in predicting odds.

Chris Murtagh 20/01/2012

4 Comments to “England embarrassed in UAE”

  1. Julie
    January 30th, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

    Time to drop KP.

    Report this comment

    VA:F [1.9.8_1114]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  2. Simon
    January 30th, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    Cant believe England let Pakistan just bowl at them like that!

    Report this comment

    VA:F [1.9.8_1114]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  3. Mike
    January 30th, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    England missed Collingwood in this situation!

    Report this comment

    VA:F [1.9.8_1114]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  4. vip
    January 30th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    time to drop morgan he is a one day /t20 player

    Report this comment

    VA:F [1.9.8_1114]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Add a Comment