ENGLAND’S fightback in Dubai yesterday featured many of the qualities you’d expect of a side ranked No1 in the world, but I fear Andrew Strauss’s men may have forfeited any hope of winning the series with their substandard efforts with the bat on day one.
Having won the toss England would have been looking to make at least 400 on a surface that’s offering the bowlers only minimal assistance. That they were skittled for under 200 was inexcusable and clearly they are going to have to reassess their approach to playing Saeed Ajmal.
The Pakistan off-spinner is a wily customer whose doosra will always pose a threat, but he doesn’t turn it half as much as Graeme Swann and no slow bowler should ever be taking seven wickets on the first day of a Test match.
As the batting coach, Graham 0 should be tearing into the likes of Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Eoin Morgan, who were all out looking to force the issue by playing risky cross-batted shots.
To prosper in these conditions batsmen need to be patient and pick off the bad balls when they come. England did the exact opposite and although their bowlers may restrict Pakistan to a lead of 150, the hosts remain favourites to win the Test.
Moreover, with the pitches in Abu Dhabi likely to be what you’d term draw-friendly, if England fall behind in this match they are going to find it extremely difficult to turn the three-match series around.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer and captain of Warwickshire who made 17,211 first-class career runs, including 29 centuries.