The 2015 Ashes series was largely a success for England, albeit it a nightmare for programmers on Sky Sports. With no Test going the full five days and the result never in doubt by the end of the second day (in the case of Trent Bridge, the match was decided after 20 overs) we saw more rearranging on TV guide than in the Australian batting line-up.
But England fans didn't mind watching extra episodes of 'Cricket's Greatest' or 'The Search for Sachin.' As long as Broad, Anderson and company were taking wickets, and Joe Root continued to flay Australian bowlers to all parts of the ground, there were no complaints. As long as the Ashes were once again in England's hands, no one much cared how they got there. No one really spares a thought for poor old Adam Lyth.
The Yorkshireman is the last in a long conveyor belt of opening batsman England have experimented with since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012. And of all of them Lyth seemed to struggle more than most, only averaging better than Jonathan Trott as Alastair Cook's batting partner. His only score of any significance was 107 against New Zealand and in the Ashes he failed to register anything above 37 at an average of 12.77.
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This from a man whose first class average is over 40. This from a man who has reached his half century 58 times and 16 of those times has gone on to reach three figures. It's one of the most frustrating sights in cricket as yet another good county batsman is reduced to a subpar international one.
He is a good batsman, without doubt, but the step up from County Cricket to Test Cricket is much bigger than perhaps most people thought. This is the only explanation for why the Yorkshireman's form seems to have dropped off a cliff.
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Perhaps the big occasion got to him. Opening the batting for England in the oldest sporting rivalries in the world, comes with a great deal of pressure, as captain Alistair Cook will tell you. In his first Ashes series he averaged 27, only marginally better than Lyth. Although Cook had proved his competence in previous series, Lyth was only given two matches to settle into Test Cricket before the big event. Were Lyth's chances as an international player ruined by mere timing?
Whatever the reason Lyth will be disappointed with his performance, because he will feel like his failures are his own fault. But if he is ever going to get back into the England side, one which is still short of a permanent opening batsman, he has to trust his own ability and get back to the business of run-scoring at his county.
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