England Improvement Needed in last Test before ‘The Ashes’

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Jamie Parker takes a look at England’s batting woes in preparation for the upcoming Lord’s test which starts today.

Batsman under scrutiny in Fourth Test at Lord’s

England captain Andrew Strauss has reiterated that England’s batting will be under massive scrutiny in the series finale which starts at Lord’s on Thursday.

This is England’s last Test before they start their campaign to retain ‘The Ashes’ in late November, and questions from down under have already been asked about England’s fragile top order.

Strauss, who only averages 28.40 throughout the series, has now gone 12 Test matches without recording a century – his last three figure score was 161 against Australia last year at Lord’s.

Strauss dismissed concerns about his own form, highlighting the favourable swinging bowling conditions as the reason for his and the team’s failings. He stressed that the batting is a concern and that mistakes must be put right.

Two batting collapses contributed to England’s four-wicket third Test defeat by Pakistan at The Oval, which ended England’s six match winning run, after the tourists successfully chased down a winning target of 148, a result which keeps the series alive at 2-1.

Only Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan are averaging above 30 with the bat in the four-Test series, while Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook – who hit a second-innings century under intense scrutiny at The Oval – and Paul Collingwood all average between 23 and 29.

England coach, Andy Flower, has told his underperforming batsmen there is no place to hide after two poor performances in the third Test.

England’s stubborn approach of seven batsman and four bowlers is likely to continue right through to their tour of Australia, which is a concern to England if their top order does not score big runs in the last test match of the series.

Flower has been most impressed by wicketkeeper, Prior, who is averaging 70.66 in the series, definitely England’s most in-form batsman, and could easily move one place up the order, if England adopts to go in with six batsman and five bowlers against the Australians.

Despite the loss at The Oval, Flower is confident that his players will bounce back with a strong performance at Lord’s and that it is their job to embrace the responsibility and be skilful enough to deal with the pressures of international cricket.

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