More than a series at stake in final Test

 
Andy Lloyd
AT THE CREASE WITH

THE IMPORTANCE of a win for England in tomorrow’s deciding Test against Pakistan should not be underestimated.

With an Ashes tour just months away, Andrew Strauss and his men would really benefit from ending the summer on a triumphant note.

Clinching the series with a comfortable victory would restore the feel-good factor that has been dented slightly by the third Test and ensure England approach their trip to Australia in buoyant mood.

Losing two Tests in a row, however, would leave everyone a little uneasy and hand the Aussies a valuable psychological edge at the ideal time.

That said, if both teams play to the best of their ability, I fancy England to see off Pakistan. Defeat at the Oval was a wake-up call and I’m sure they will be well up for it at Lord’s.

I’m surprised it’s come down to a decider, as England got off to a good start and are the better team, but two sessions of poor batting at the Oval cost them dear and Pakistan, to their credit, took full advantage.

But there is no need to press the panic button and I’m not surprised they have named the same team. It’s a very settled unit and they had won six matches in a row before last week.

One thing is clear: the weather is probably going to play a bigger role this time. I’m sure Strauss will be looking very closely at the conditions overhead.

LEICESTERSHIRE ROW

Elsewhere, I’m shocked by the row playing out at Leicestershire, where captain Matthew Hoggard and coach Tim Booth have called on chairman Neil Davidson to resign.


Davidson, who has been accused of interfering in team selection, is out of order for making this issue public.

They will have to find some kind of solution because the worst possible scenario for Leicestershire would be to lose Booth, a first class coach, and the very experienced and capable Hoggard.