England have been humiliated in the first two Tests against the West Indies .

Pace, patience and slips – Five areas where England can improve in Test cricket

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The inquest is under way after England lost their Test series in the West Indies with a match to spare.

Here, we take a look at what can be done to fix England’s ills.

Too Aggressive

England have some wonderful ball strikers in their batting line-up, but, perhaps inspired by the success of the one-day team, there has been too much crash-bang-wallop in their approach to the longer format.

The over-ambitious shots coming too frequently and at the wrong times – Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali all fell to booming drives in the second innings in Antigua, when they need to appear after the bowlers have been worn down.

For pointers, they need only look to Kraigg Brathwaite or Darren Bravo.

Next Generation of Pace

After the 2017/18 Ashes, English cricket seemed to unite around the opinion that extra pace was required to add a new dimension to an attack that can begin to look samey on flat pitches.

Olly Stone was identified as a potential answer, but did not feature in Sri Lanka and is now nursing a stress fracture.

Mark Wood has been given a chance to rebuild his Test career and is capable of being genuinely quick, but England must be thinking now about how they will handle and integrate the next generation of prospects is the more important long-term issue.

Find Decent Openers

Alastair Cook memorably cycled through a dozen opening partners between Andrew Strauss’ retirement and his own, with no sign of the process slowing down since.

England v Australia: 4th Investec Ashes Test - Day Four

The union between Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings lasted all of four matches before the latter was replaced by Joe Denly, whose debut at North Sound was far from impressive.

Burns has impressed with his approach and England will probably have to indulge some low scores if they believe him to be a solution.

It is arguably national selector Ed Smith’s most pressing job to scour the shires for another opener with the game to succeed.

Fixing in the Fields

Stuart Broad has admitted there has been too much chopping and changing in the key catching area on the pitch, with England shelling too many chances as a result.


Jos Buttler is usually a reliable pair of hands, but his pair of drops last week cannot be repeated.

England must settle on their most adept slips and drill them relentlessly. A hard-pressed bowling attack cannot afford to see cast-iron opportunities go begging.

The Future of the Coaching

Trevor Bayliss’ stint as head coach will end after the Ashes in September, meaning the Australian is now firmly on the home straight.

Newly appointed director of cricket Ashley Giles will already be pondering his replacement – or replacements, should he decide to split the Test and one-day positions.

England’s Test team has not developed as hoped under Bayliss, in stark contrast to the one-day unit, and Giles must find someone with a clear vision for how to turn the ECB’s considerable financial and playing resources into a world-beating five-day team.

England cricket
Andrew Strauss
Mark Wood
Joe Denly
Keaton Jennings
Olly Stone
Rory Burns
Alastair Cook
Jos Buttler
Moeen Ali
Ben Stokes
Jonny Bairstow
Joe Root
Stuart Broad

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