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    5. Defiant England must calm its ego and back up its ..


    Defiant England must calm its ego and back up its words with action.

    England captain Ben Stokes as well as Joe Root are missing the score. Photo: Getty Images/Gareth Copley

    England players may say they all want to be entertainers, but winning is better. There is so much chatter coming from their dressing room about how attacking bowlers impose themselves in any situation and in pursuit of any goal.

    Ben Duckett was smug after his remarkable innings of 153, saying: “The more runs we have to chase, the better.” After their second innings collapse and massive defeat, his comments should embarrass him.

    If you are going to brag, be outrageously cocky and even arrogant, then you will have to back it up with actions, not words.


    For example, the public loved Muhammad Ali because he was funny with his irreverent talk, but he backed it up by becoming the heavyweight champion of the world three times.

    I have no doubt that England are good at chasing totals. We have seen them do some interesting things, but always on good, regular and level pitches in England, Pakistan and New Zealand, where the ball hits the bat without much variation.

    Indian pitches are different. They are good for stroke play for a couple of days, but then they become slower and the ball misses the bat. Some balls stop on the field, there is a turn and if you just hit it over the line you are asking for trouble. They require some adjustment to where you can score.

    Great athletes know how and when to adapt their game depending on the conditions and circumstances. This is not negativity or a failure to change your mindset or game plan. This is called being smart.

    If a person or team can only play or act one way, then they are a one-trick pony, not a great player or a great team. At the moment England are in danger of being hoisted by their own petard, with batsmen being told or believed that they must attack, attack, attack all the time.

    The new young spinners performed well. This is a batting that doesn't fire. The middle order has been England's engine for the last two years, but at the moment Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes have not contributed enough runs and have given up their wickets too often by trying to score too quickly.

    In three Tests and 18 innings between them, their total is 369 runs – an average of 20 runs per innings from the top three batsmen in the world. Any team will struggle with the average batting average of just 20 runs each. Root made 77 runs in six innings. Bairstow 102 in six innings. Stokes was the best with 190. And it's not that they are constantly being batted by excellent bowling. Some of their dismissals will make you cry.

    Both Stokes and Root were out when England needed to run out the clock. Photo: Getty Images/Gareth Copley

    In this match alone, all three came out LBW, hitting balls thrown onto the stumps.

    Bairstow has never been a good batter. He has very few runs and has previously been out in India trying to sweep. Johnny hits the cricket ball superbly, but the pressure forces the batsmen to do stupid things.

    Root and Stokes tried to save the match by defending from 40 and 39 balls, but then inexplicably could not resist trying to hit the balls, caught in the stumps. Why? At this stage of the game, runs were useless. It was crazy when DRS and England were against him.

    In the first innings, Joe tried to reverse Jasprit Bumrah but helped him to a second slip.

    Bairstow batted to the end. a ball he could choke. When the fielder was on the boundary, Stokes tried to hit Ravindra Jadeja into the stand. Why? It was very dangerous unless he hit it perfectly, which he didn't.

    Ollie Pope's superb 196 won the first Test for England, but beyond that he had 89 runs to his name in five innings. He was guilty of trying to make room to hit a ball that wasn't there to score. These were all stupid and unnecessary mistakes.

    Unless the batsmen do better, the bowlers and the team will be under enormous pressure in the next two Tests. It never changes. “If you can't bat, you won't win!”, no matter how good you are.

    Come on, England, think carefully about how you get out and put your ego aside. You are better than what you showed in the last two tests.

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