What is? England’s performance in the second and third ODIs!
Cook seems to have got Strauss’s disease – an inability to set an attacking field and respond to situations in any other than a purely formulaic way. The usual advice is, if you win the toss on a flat, docile pitch like Headingley on Friday, BAT FIRST!! Fill your boots and make the other lot play catch up later! Malinga can only bowl 10 overs after all. Also, ANDERSON SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST ONE SLIP. He’s a swing bowler and it broke my heart yesterday at Lord’s to see edges go for 4 at third man that would have been down first or second slip’s throat.
My long experience with cricket teams I have coached and managed (sceptics see correspondence with Martin De Kauwe elsewhere) also taught me the following: if you’ve batted first and made a low score, the only way open to you to win is to get the other lot all out. There are no draws in limited over cricket. This means attacking bowling and fields to match. After all, a batsman who is out can’t score any more runs, can he? As it was Cook got it plain wrong at Headingley and at Lord’s – Sri Lanka were never really under any pressure at all.
What to do about it? Put out an A team for the next two matches to win the series. This means dropping Broad and Kieswetter (and perhaps Trott), bringing back Prior and either Finn or Tremlett in Broad’s place as a bowler or another spinner to complement Swann – and look for a captain with some tactical nouse! Why does no-one think of Bell?