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England's natural order

Test cricket England
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It has taken until the final Test of the series, but finally England have their batting order correct.

They may still have been staring down the barrel of a rare Ashes whitewash had it been this way from Brisbane, but for the longer term Kevin Pietersen is the right man to bat at number four.

True, Paul Collingwood struck a double century in Adelaide at four, but other than that is has been slim pickings and England's go-slow tactics there, where Collingwood was a culprit, ultimately brought them undone.

Whatever the uncomfortable truth might have been behind Pietersen's mid-match elevation in Melbourne, it should now be forgotten.

At the MCG, it reeked of desperation and duly crashed, but the 108-run stand for the third wicket in Sydney pointed to a brighter future for England's middle-order.

By force of personality, or by dint of his unusual ability, Pietersen has the rare ability to influence his team-mates.

Number three Ian Bell is not naturally an enforcer, but he certainly has some strong shots at his disposal. He appears happier at the crease when Pietersen is there, freer to take a more organic approach to his strokeplay knowing that runs are coming from the other end also.

Batting with Collingwood, Bell can seem ill-at-ease and contrived trying to force the issue when the scoring rate drops. He is a better technician, with a wider repertoire, than Collingwood, and the onus usually falls on him.

OK, it didn't work completely on day one in Sydney, but the formation needs time to bed in and it was still England's second-highest third-wicket stand of the series, behind the 113-run effort in Adelaide.

What is more, Pietersen may be less prone to the brain explosion which brought his demise with the added responsibility that batting at four brings. There is only one way to find out, and England are on that road of discovery.

The knock-on effect can also be felt further down the order. Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, two similar batsmen, rarely bat well together, but are often required to at five and six.

But, with Collingwood at five, the balance that was evident during England's third-wicket stand can be replicated when the likes of Flintoff and Collingwood, or Flintoff and Bell, come together. At times during the first evening at the SCG, Freddie and Colly were great together.

Of course, different men will fall at different times, thus altering the make-up of each partnership Test by Test. But with more grunt higher in the middle-order, and the greater balance it brings, the plan should succeed more than it fails.

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posted Jan 3, 2007

In one dayers he goes for 8-9 per over - in tests its more like 5. he sprays it everywhere. broad has to be a better option

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posted Jan 3, 2007

I have to say that I'm not surprised that England have been outplayed in this Ashes Series. There are many reasons but I think placing the blame on the players isn't going to do any good. A lot of the blame has got to go with the management. First off it has taken too long for them in this series too displace Jones with Reed. Secondly why have just changed the order now when it is obvious KP is far better off at No.4. Thirdly why are we taking injured players like Giles to the Ashes rather than using players like Panesar (who is one of the best finger spinners in the world). I used to place a lot of England's poor play on Ian Bell who has now proved me wrong, which I think Mahmood will also do to a lot of people. I now realise that blaming players isn't any good the structure at the top needs to change

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posted Jan 3, 2007

I said it before, I'll say it again - "we took too long to replace Jones with Reed (sic)"! What has Read done since he's been in the side? Jones made no test mistakes behind the stumps and Read starts the tail! Added value = next to nothing. We need a batsman who can keep, not a keeper who can't bat. Neither Jones, nor Read are the answer.

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comment by Brady12 (U6880332)

posted Jan 3, 2007

I have to say that I'm not surprised that England have been outplayed in this Ashes Series. There are many reasons but I think placing the blame on the players isn't going to do any good. A lot of the blame has got to go with the management. First off it has taken too long for them in this series too displace Jones with Reed. Secondly why have just changed the order now when it is obvious KP is far better off at No.4. Thirdly why are we taking injured players like Giles to the Ashes rather than using players like Panesar (who is one of the best finger spinners in the world). I used to place a lot of England's poor play on Ian Bell who has now proved me wrong, which I think Mahmood will also do to a lot of people. I now realise that blaming players isn't any good the structure at the top needs to change
-----------------------------------
Some of your points are valid put I believe the players are to blame... Fletcher wanted batting down the order hence picking Giles & Jones - Yes it didnt work but did you watch today?? Plan B didnt really did it 200 odd for becomes 291 a/o

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posted Jan 3, 2007

Yes Mahmood is fast of the bat but he is capable of delivering a devastating spell give him time and I am sure he will come good.

Also I think Read has had his chance and next summer a new keeper should be brought in.

The batting line up now seems to be correct and the right batsmen are in the side.
Strauss may have had a poor series but he is still one of the best opening batsmen in the world. Cook still needs to work on parts of his game but he still looks as though he is going to be the comlete package. Bell has made no3 his own. KP and Colly just need to keep doing what their doing.

The only problem with this is I cant see Vaughn getting a place in the side if he does I fear it will be Cook who will make way but I also think we need Vaughn.

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posted Jan 3, 2007

I dont think bell is exactly making number 3 his own hes only averaging 35 ish this series, he seems alot more comfortable at number six bt i prefer him at three. Although pietersen is averaging about 60 this series i havent been that impressed, i cant stand the way he keeps wandering down the pitch to play a forward defence and alot of his innings have been very slow by his standards, i wish he would just stand still to the pace bowlers and play his shots it clearly worked before the series so why change, there have also been less aggressive shots vs warne, it was that which really gave england confidence in 05 so a few more of them wouldnt go a miss. strauss has been unlucky and looked in good nick the the aussies have bowled so well where as due to poor managment our bowlers werent prepared, as for jones,read i feel read deserved his place, jones is the better batter when on form but neither will make runs at international level on a regular basis.

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posted Jan 3, 2007

superSTRAUSS, Kp has been hitting less sixes because the boundaries are that much bigger in Aus. You would rather have him averaging 30 and caught in the deep each innings? Come on, he is the best batsman by a mile and it is because of his ability to do something different that he is highly valued, rather than just defending til he gets out he is trying to put Aus back on the back foot unlike Colli who often gets bogged down at four with Bell, spelling disaster. Pietersen is the best batsman, is averaging nearly 60 like you say and would get into any team in the world. How can a 60 average against the world number ones not impress u?

Ian Bell certainly hasn't made number three his own. No hundreds, 35 average, not good enough for that position. 60's and 70's don't win games, big 100's do. He did that at six and could at five. Cook looked the best number three we have had for a while and should return there when Vaughan comes back. Vaughan should open, where he plays his best cricket against real pace. Bell is better than Colli and is as resilient so could split Kp and Fred well.

It must now be obvious that the wicket keeper debate is over. They are both crap - get one of Prior or Davies in.

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posted Jan 3, 2007

I don't care if Vaughan isn't the batsman he was, we still desperately need his captaincy skills, even if it's at the expense of one of our current top six.
No one likes to criticise the sacred bovine that is Andrew Flintoff, but his captaincy has often been defensive and unimaginative, and occasionally inept. The deep set mid-on and mid-off during the opening overs of Australia’s run chase at Adelaide was the final straw. Not only were they set so deep that the Australians were able to run singles at will, but he also chose to put Steve Harmison, not one of our more athletic fielders, in one of those crucial positions. It was just one example of many when Flintoff’s captaincy has failed under pressure.
Personally I would like to see Vaughan come in and Flintoff drop down to no.7, but the England selectors are hell-bent on playing five frontline bowlers, so it looks like Bell, or more likely Cook will have to make way.

On the subject of the keepers slot, I think Jon Batty should be given a shot. He is a far batter gloveman than Prior, and a better batsman than any of the other contenders. It might not be a long term pick, but he would certainly be “a safe pair of hands” in more ways than one, for a couple of years, until Davies comes of age.

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comment by murph73 (U5416614)

posted Jan 4, 2007

How did Bell go again?

Better book in a few tours of Bangladesh and Zim to get his average up.

Bwa...bwahahhh...ahahhahaha...

** breathe **

hahahahahhahahahahahahaa

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posted Jan 5, 2007

We Need 2 rebalance for the summer and to work out the game plan that we had from west indies 2004-australia 2005 when we dominated every side we played and my side for the 1st test would be

1.ME Trescothick
2.AJ Strauss
3.M Vaughn
4.K Pietersen
5.I Bell
6.A Flintoff
7.M Prior
8.M Hoggard
9.S Harmison
10.S Jones
11.M Panesnar
agree??

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