Jonathan Agnew: New summer, same old problems for England

Media playback is not supported on this device
Highlights: Pakistan dominate as England collapse for 184
Clearly England did not bat well on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan. I was out there before play began, when there were lots of discussions over what the team that won the toss would choose to do. The whispers I heard quickly suggested that England would bat and Pakistan would bowl. There were lots of reasons for a team to want to field first. The pitch was green and there were clouds over Lord's. England, though, wanted to bat because of concerns about how dry the pitch might become later in the match - remember when Moeen Ali spun out South Africa here last summer?

Joe Root chose to bat but his team were soon 43-3It is still possible captain Joe Root made the right decision but, if England are to win this Test, they are going to have to do it the hard way. Even if the conditions were difficult for batting, they did not justify being 184 all out. With the exception of Alastair Cook, England simply did not apply themselves. When you know that batting will be tough, that the ball might move around and your technique will be tested, you have to make sure that you don't give the bowlers any more advantages. Hang in there, accept that 40-1 at lunch would be a good start. Make sure that you don't lose three or four wickets in the first session. Instead, England found themselves 43-3. It was not just the perilous nature of the score, but the manner of dismissals that was again so disappointing. Too many batsmen contributed to their own downfalls. Mark Stoneman played a wretched shot for an opening batsman, a crooked drive. Root threw the bat at a wide one. Dawid Malan played a nothing shot - a tentative prod - and, later on, Jos Buttler's slash resulted in a catch at second slip. Before this match I wrote about how an away team's preparations for a tour is usually found wanting in the modern game. I don't think England were properly prepared for either of their Test series over the winter. Pakistan, though, looked ready for this match. They have played three games against counties and a hard-fought Test against Ireland. At Lord's, they showed themselves to be battle-hardened. So often, sub-continental teams arrive in England and are rolled over because they are not used to the conditions. But give good players the right preparation and they will have the opportunity to showcase their skills. That is what Test cricket is about, adapting to different conditions around the world. Pakistan bowled well, took their catches, then came through a tough batting spell under floodlights at the end of the day. On Friday and Saturday, the sun is forecast to shine and the pitch will get better for batting. At 50-1, 134 behind, they have a wonderful opportunity to earn a position of real strength. Jonathan Agnew was talking to BBC Sport's Stephan ShemiltListen to the podcast from the opening day's play at Lord's
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Июнь 2019    »