Even if England had wiped the floor with Bangladesh during their two-Test series and hinted at mastering subcontinent conditions, the upcoming tussles with India were always going to be much harder propositions.
Going into the Bangladesh series I felt England were more than capable of winning 2-0, but I don’t necessarily think 1-1 was a bad result. Bangladesh often get judged on how they’d fare over here, where I’d expect them to be beaten within two or three days.
But over the two Tests, England did not perform as I expected them to and it was the style of cricket they employed which was more concerning than the result, even though Bangladesh did win for only the eighth time in 95 red-ball matches.
Learn from mistakes
England’s weaknesses have been laid bare for all, and particularly India, who are currently the No1-ranked Test side in the world, to see and there isn’t much time to work extensively on any problems as the first Test in Rajkot starts on Wednesday.
There are no warm-up matches before that match and as I have said previously, a lot of the England players are learning on the job in subcontinent conditions, and that’s tough.
I think there will be a heavy focus on tactics over next few days. The batsmen need to learn from the mistakes of Bangladesh and have a think about the mindset needed to accumulate runs and the tempo at which they should be scoring.
The spinners didn’t perform particularly well in Bangladesh and leaked too many runs, but the whole bowling unit will need to consider how to tie up an end and ultimately take wickets.
That’s not to say there weren’t any positives. The way Ben Stokes put his hand up throughout the series with bat and ball proved what a vital player he is. In spinning conditions, Stokes took 11 wickets, England joint-highest tally, with seam.
Opener Ben Duckett was thrown in at the deep end and for a young player to play like he did in the second innings of the second Test in Dhaka was impressive. He was playing reverse sweeps and hitting the ball over the heads of bowlers in the first few overs.
He played his natural game and that can be difficult to do when you first come into a side, particularly an international team, as often the thought is just to get runs on the board somehow.
Other players can learn from Duckett’s attitude. If players go out there with the intention of just surviving, like Gary Ballance appeared to do, then you aren’t going to last very long.
Even though it might have been bloody tough, Duckett and skipper Alastair Cook showed in their opening stand of 100 in Dhaka, which came before England’s monumental collapse, that it’s not impossible to bat in such conditions and a lot comes down to belief.
In their corner, England have a lot of fine, young cricketers with a mentality of being able to beat any team. Perhaps that wasn’t always the case in the past but there is a lot of confidence in that squad and hopefully they can take the fight to India.