It doesn’t take a genius to figure that this Pommy side is not the #1 test team in the world. Heck, if I summon the local net bowler from down the street and ask him to bowl at the England batsmen in broad daylight whilst screaming the type of delivery beforehand, he’ll still be a favourite to scalp three of their top six. They are really that bad against spin bowling of any half-decent standard.
So in essence, after mauling India 4-0 last summer, Saffer A have got point blank whitewashed in the tests that’ve followed; first with the 3-0 against Pakistan in the Emirates, and it’s increasingly likely that they’ll slip up against Lanka in the second test as well. This after yet another thrashing in Galle to script their own 4-0. And that’s got to be the shortest amount of time a team has held on to the top spot. Supporting England has got to be a perennial wait for that dog in its day moment – they’ll stand up to be counted once every generation if you’re lucky.
Though to be fair, their batters had a valid reason to fall back on in the Pakistan series – that they were spun out by a trickster in Saeed Ajmal, who bowled a full repertoire of doosras, teesras, arm balls and heaven knows what. But in this ongoing Sri Lankan series, they’re being spun out by Rangana Herath for crying out loud! Who averages mid 30s in test cricket, above 40 in one day cricket, and to put it mildly, isn’t a particularly good bowler. But I guess any average spinner looks like a world beater if and when he bowls to the Poms.
And this isn’t going to change. I love sport psychology, and from all evidence it looks like each of them are being overcoached. Have a look at Bell or KP at the crease – they bat like their brains have been scrambled with too much advice about ball trajectories, paths and speeds. Just notice the number of pre-determined swipes and slogs. They just don’t cut it, literally. That’s when you should quit pondering and do a Sehwag instead – just go out there and whack it.
As for their coaching staff, Flower and Gooch should be a tad worried at this rate – the English batsmen will loose them their jobs if this keeps up!
Can’t wait to get this bunch over in India this November. 4-0. I want nothing less.