As England’s wait for a Test victory extends further and further, Alastair Cook’s top-order batsmen need to address their form and start scoring more runs if they are to return to winning ways.
Whilst the recognised hitters have been faltering with a bat in hand, the tailenders have been having more fun at the crease. It is fast becoming a regular sight to behold England’s lower-order digging the team out of hole, and providing themselves with a respectable target to bowl to.
But if that cycle is to continue recurring then Peter Moores is going to have to wait even longer for the first victory during his second spell in charge of the national team.
Not enough runs
Aside from recording 575/9 against India at Lord’s – largely thanks to an unbeaten double hundred from Joe Root – England have struggled to consistently score more than 400 in an innings, piling pressure on their bowling attack.
With tighter margins to defend, more is being asked of fast bowlers, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett. Their job is made even more difficult if it follows a long period at the crease.
Uphill struggles have been a regular occurrence, with lower-order batsmen looking to atone for the shortcomings of their teammates with the bat.
2010/11 Ashes series
One of the greatest highs in England’s recent cricketing history came when they won the 2010/11 Ashes 3-1 away in Australia. The key to that series win was consistent run scoring.
Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott were reliable sources of high-scoring innings, which often teed up confident bowling spells when the side returned to the field.
The batsmen may not be responsible for the accumulation of wickets, but impressive performances can be a catalyst for better luck in the field. England need to go back to basics, and seriously look at their ability with the bat if they are to finally bring their winless streak to an abrupt end.
Batting must improve
Whether or not that is with the same team that lost at Lord’s is yet to be seen. However, time must be dedicated in the nets before the third Test gets underway at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.
The selectors may have the challenge of deciding whether or not to pick a specialist spinner, but their top-order could need some attention as well.
Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Gary Ballance have probably batted with the most consistency and received the most plaudits this summer as a result. With those young players at the core, the future is bright for England.
Nevertheless, as they continue their development, a shorter-term plan needs to be devised – and that can be done by bringing in batsmen who are going to provide solid foundations from where bowlers can press for victory later in a Test match.