IF EVER there was a time for England to end their run of failing to score 400 in 18 consecutive Test innings then the second Ashes Test, which starts tonight, is certainly it.
You dominate matches by getting big scores on the board and hitting 400 would send out a strong message. Now is the time to do that.
That unwanted sequence has coincided with a lean spell for Alastair Cook and he will need to step up if England are to pass that mark. But I saw signs in the second innings of the defeat in Brisbane that the old prolific Cook, who refused to give up his wicket, is back. I thought he was unlucky to get out by Nathan Lyon and before that had diligently scored 65 off 195 balls.
He’ll need help from a new-look line-up likely to see Joe Root at No3. Gary Ballance is being tipped in some circles to come in at No6 but I’d still be surprised if England don’t pick the more experienced Jonny Bairstow instead. Seamer Tim Bresnan is fit again and I suspect he’ll play. I’m not sure there’ll be much in the wicket for him, but his batting should add 30 an innings.
A flat pitch and hot conditions point to an attritional second Test that will be very difficult for either side to win. I don’t think England need to – but they certainly can’t afford to go 2-0 down.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer as well as captain and chairman of Warwickshire.