Time for England to roll sleeves up

cricket blogs for Yahoo Cricket Columns

Pakistan deserved to win the last Test at The Oval: England will now have their work cut out again against them at Lord's.


They have to show discipline. They were surprised by Pakistan in the third Test - and now have to roll their sleeves up.


People say the defeat may be a blessing in disguise, but of course captain Andrew Strauss wanted to win it. What happened does not change his or England's focus.


Steven Finn was quite expensive, but bowled very well at Lord's against Bangladesh at the beginning of the season so I'm not sure they will change the side.


They have a reasonably well-settled team and will have an idea of who will come into the squad for the Ashes and also the starting XI for the first Test against Australia.


England will need a good first-innings score at Lord's; there will likely be overhead conditions. Pakistan will be hoping it is sunny all week - they would love to have some turn in the pitch for the spinner - while England will want there to be a tinge of grass, typical home conditions.


I'm sure they won't be complacent, as I'm sure there weren't before the third Test; with a hard few days' practice behind them and a look at the things I mentioned in my last blog - their batting issues - they will be all right.


It was good to see England go down fighting, as you'd expect them to, and not completely fall down.


They looked capable of coming back towards the end - but the two batsmen who saw the job through for Pakistan showed discipline.


From a neutral point of view the result keeps the series alive: they have an opportunity to level the series and there should be some good crowds at Lord's.


Mohammad Yousuf made a big difference to Pakistan. He brings calmness and composure to a young batting line-up.


And it also gave a country in turmoil a bit of heart, a bit of cheer.




On the stand-off at Leicestershire, where I've been with my county Surrey this week... I've not looked at what's happened in detail, but at this stage of the season you would think you'd be hoping for a bit of harmony.


But that's cricket: a club may look at their position in the league, and someone - it could be the chairman or the chief executive - may question where it is headed.
However usually it happens behind closed doors, and is resolved there: that isn't the case with this one though.


Courtesy: Yahoo! Eurosport UK