Another day, another England collapse. It’s like Adelaide all over again with the one redeeming feature that it’s not against the Aussies. It’s enough to drive you to print. And it’s at least in part because of England’s almost ingrained negativity. A couple of years ago, the mantra was to fight fire with fire, be positive at all costs, and while that worked in a one-off like the 2005 Ashes, it failed to be successful in the long-term as England took the attitude into situations in which it was in appropriate, as when they needed 198 to beat Pakistan in the first Test in Multan in 2005-6 and came up 22 runs short.
The recent negativity, so obvious in the first Test in New Zealand in the winter, seems to have coincided with Peter Moores’ reign as head coach, a complete about-turn from Duncan Fletcher’s approach, amid complaints that our top-order batsmen were not knuckling down to get enough big scores on teh board. But surely there is a happy medium: the best batsmen – and England’s top six, as Ian Smith keeps pointing out in the Sky commentary, are all, individually, highly rated – retain, even when being primarily defensive, the compulsion to attack when given the slightest opportunity. The last batsman in the England line-up that I can remember being able to do this is Graham Thorpe, who I’m sure would not have allowed Daniel Vettori to get so comprehensively on top as he did last night and first thing this morning.
Well two wickets to go and three runs needed to save the follow-on. I hope we can save that, otherwise I can see this game being over today.