Fitness

England’s stubbornness is hurting their own hopes – Agnew

England's stubbornness is hurting their own hopes - Agnew

The last two days will haunt England.

If they don’t change their batting strategy they won’t win the Ashes.

I will not be negative about the principle of playing positive cricket. That I agree with.

But England’s approach is turning stubborn as they failed to learn from last week’s defeat at Edgbaston.

England should have won that first Test. They were leading for large parts of the game, especially in the second innings until Joe Root, Harry Brook and Jonny Bairstow gave away their wickets soon after the start.

Then I said they need to continue creating chaos in Bazball but feel the moment to do it.

They failed to do that at Edgbaston and they failed to do it again at Lord’s – here even more so.

England will always have to change for Australia

If you’re going to win a Test match, you can’t wrap up a commanding position in the box, bow and give it to your opponent.

This aggressive cricketer from England worked for a year. Captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum turned this Test team around. To win 11 of their first 12 Tests and create energy around the game was brilliant. This is something they are rightly applauded for.

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But playing in the Australian team was always going to be different. They are world champions – a huge step.

Last year, England played New Zealand and India teams who had not played any red-ball cricket, and a South African side without their top batsmen.

England have beaten them all in stunning fashion but they need to refine their strategy. You can’t go gung ho against a side like this Australia XI.

More disappointingly at 188-1 on the second day, England were, once again, in control.

The Australians went short-pitch bowling as they had nowhere else to go and Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Root all fell into the trap, before Brook did the same thing on the morning of the third day – hitting a baseball shot to extra cover from Mitchell Starc.

As a former pace bowler I know it is very difficult to bowl like that for a long time. You can do this for four or five more maximum because it hurts.

If, at that time, you get a batsman playing hook or pull you think it’s a bonus.

You laugh and say “what a berk, how have you fallen for that?” because deep down you always think you are a better bowler than hitting the ball in the middle of the pitch.

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For four England batters to be dismissed for doing so is meaningless.

The coach or captain must assert themselves

All England need to do is play smart, swing in the way of the ball for five or six overs. That’s not being defensive. It will not go back to what they set out to do.

It’s just common sense because when there are five people waiting to catch you, it’s not worth shooting.

It is insulting to club cricketers to say what England have done is like club cricket.

I spoke to a former player who said he wanted to walk out, saying this is not the way you play.

It could be tough for the two batsmen there in the heat of the Ashes battle. Their minds were buzzing and they went to get the ball, especially after the rhetoric from the England team.

That’s why I wish, when Australia’s tactics start and Pope and Duckett are clearly struggling, a message is sent from the dressing room.

Don’t forget that Duckett could have been out three times before he got out and Root and Brook were both recovered after playing cross-batted shots.

If the message doesn’t come from Stokes, McCullum needs to assert himself in the situation.

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A pair of gloves needs to be sent with a message to say “this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to be flexible and that’s OK.”

Then the players came out defending it and, let’s be honest, what else could they do?

Duckett said last night that he and his England team-mates would not change.

He was enthusiastic in an interview with me on Test Match Special and was shocked when I asked if England should rule it.

In another interview, he said if Australia saw them step backwards by leaving short balls their opponents would think they had “won that battle”.

But Australia had already lost the battle. That’s why they went to that bouncer ploy, and why I have a hard time understanding.

England need to win this game – they have never come from 2-0 down to win the Ashes in the history of the tournament – and could be in a strong position to do so.

It’s disappointing that that opportunity seems to be slipping away for England fans, and those who just want a thrilling series.

Jonathan Agnew talks to BBC Sport’s Matthew Henry

#Englands #stubbornness #hurting #hopes #Agnew

About the author

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As a seasoned content writer for our company blog, Ann brings a unique blend of creativity, research prowess, and an unwavering commitment to delivering engaging and informative content. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of our target audience, she effortlessly crafts articles that educate, inspire, and captivate our readers.

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