August 14, 2009

English batting - a chore!

Having watched a see-saw Ashes series so far with 4 Tests all different from each other, the most shocking thing to witness was that England batsmen have just 1 century among them, while all the Australian top-order batsmen have had at least 1 century each (with the exception of maybe Hussey - I may have got my facts wrong here!)

Sitting through the English batting is really boring in any situation. The BBC middle order (Bopara, Bell, Collingwood) is the saddest middle order in cricketing history and the openers are, well, not much different. Strauss leaves alone maybe some 80-odd percent of the time, but he has good strokes which Collingwood may never manage in his entire life. The reason why Collingwood saved the first Test was obvious - he is basically a blocker and nudger, he just can't hit the ball, due to lack of skill or power or both. Cook is a very good batsman, but his dismal Ashes campaign just makes the English batting that much sadder.

The lower middle order has by far been the best. There are some truly good stroke makers there, with Prior being the best of them. In fact, Prior has been the unsung hero for England all along, I feel. Prior's batting in the second innings at Lord's and the first innings at Edgbaston saw some breathtaking strokes and an excellent strike-rate as well. In many ways, he ats like Sehwag - if the ball's there to be hit, hit it. Flintoff was the hero for England at Edgbaston, and if it were not for a fluke Hauritz ripper, he well may have got another Ashes century. Broad and Swann are no mugs with the bat, and their batting at Headingley in the second innings was something to behold. Nasser Hussain termed Broad as the next English all-rounder after Flintoff. Well, let's see!
During the fourth test, commentators joked about reversing the English batting order for the fifth Test, but it may just turn out to be effective for England. I say, get Bopara and Collingwood to bat at no. 7 and 8 and things will be just fine!

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