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August 2009
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Jrod: England’s top-order problem

August 10th, 2009 by JRod in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes

I thought the only way Australia could win the Ashes after Edgbaston was from a collapse. I didn’t expect England to collapse three innings in a row, lose inside three days, and trudge to The Oval.

There are a lot of reasons for a collapse like this, but it is hard to go past three of England’s top four. Not just their output, but how they are perceived.

When Alastair Cook fell for 30 (the second 30) he walked off the ground like a kid who had found out he wasn’t going to Disneyland. He wasn’t holding his bat; it was barely in his fingers being dragged along the ground.

Cook is a very talented batsman with some technical flaws, but you always feel you can get him out no matter how set he is. He has less aura than a pretzel.

No one has listened to Shane Warne more than Ravi Bopara. I think every time Bopara has fallen in this series Warne should be getting another wicket to his name.

Remember when Ravi compared himself to a wild dog roaming the streets. I’ve seen more vicious guide dogs. He has got some bad decisions, but you can’t blame the umpires – he comes out looking like a guy who knows he won’t make runs. They just want to get him off before he embarrasses himself.

When Ian Bell was brought back in, he and several of his backers in the media talked about how much he had learnt since he lost his spot.  There has no been no evidence of this. Not a hint. Not a whisper.

He has looked like a man that doesn’t think he can handle Test cricket.  Bell just seems to have the fear. He doesn’t look like he believes he belongs, and he doesn’t seem to want to fight for it.  Watching him bat should be great, but instead it feels very uncomfortable.

It would be unfair to blame these three for this Test loss. They didn’t decide on short, wide and crap bowling. They are only three batsmen in a top order of six that struggled twice. And they had very little to do with Australia finally finding form.

Yet they are the engine room. The young guns in the top-order that England need to fire. Australia has absolutely no fear of them. Why should they?

Jrod is an Australian blogger, and now author. His book The Year Of The Balls 2008: A Disrespective is available now

Posted in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes |

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