Series decider is good for the game – and England
Despite being an England supporter it was actually encouraging to see Pakistan finally play to their true potential at the Oval in the third Test, keeping the series alive and setting up what should be a thrilling decider at Lord’s this week.
England’s victories in the first two Tests were as much down to the Pakistani’s tendency to collapse with the bat than England’s skill with the ball.
But as soon as they got their act together and put England under pressure they flourished. The Test cricket betting suggests the final match should be very interesting.
The defeat may not necessarily be a bad thing for England either as it has finally highlighted some of their short comings. The batting has not been up to scratch this series, though this wasn’t critical in the first two Tests as England’s bowlers steamed through the tourists batting line up, dismissing them double figure totals on two occasions.
But in a more competitive third Test two batting collapses – the second of which saw England score just 28 at the expense of seven wickets – has given coach Andy Flower plenty to think about as he heads to Lord’s.
Ironically the man closest to the chop was Alastair Cook, but his timely return to form at the Oval should ensure he keeps his place.
But captain Strauss himself, Kevin Pietersen, and Eoin Morgan should all show more resilience in the middle – less than 90 runs between them last time out just isn’t good enough.
A few weeks ago I was lauding the England players for their impressive displays and even predicting Ashes glory this coming winter. But maybe I like many others were caught up in the thrill of it all and got complacent. The Ashes betting odds still make the Australians favourites after all.
Being brought back down to earth with a bump is no bad thing if you learn from it – which is exactly what England need to do.
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