Well, there’s nothing like the collective tomfoolery of what passes for an England top and middle order these days to crowbar a reluctant blogger back to his computer. Should Paul Collingwood go back to county cricket to try to regain some form? Certainly. But should not Andrew Strauss. Should not Michael Vaughan, should not Alastair Cook, whose technical deficiencies are obvious, especially on the front foot. And yet he’s got three fifties in four innings.
OK, we may have got the wrong end of the genie bottle with a couple of decisions today, but there are two things alarming me. The widespread inability to concentrate – that is, really concentrate, the kind of knuckle-down-to-it commitment that Graham Thorpe used to bring to his role – but also the widespread inability to play the moving ball.
This is what a Test batsman is meant to do. If you can’t play the moving ball at this level, then you do not deserve to be playing at this level. There are plenty of players who can look superb, showy even, when stuck on a belter with not a cloud in the sky to create some turbulence in the atmosphere – think Graeme Hick for a start.
But start to wobble the ball off the straight and narrow, even minimally, and the England order look like men who’ve been given a decorator’s paintbrush to fill in a small crossword.
Jacques Kallis has bowled excellently today, swinging it both ways, not trying to bowl too fast, but on a basically slow pitch, top international players should have the skills to adjust more often than not.