ICC Combined XI v England XI, Dubai, 2nd day January 8, 2012

Batsmen are rusty - Cook

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Alastair Cook admitted England's batsmen hadn't started their time in UAE as they'd hoped but wasn't overly concerned despite an unconvincing display against an ICC Combined XI in Dubai. Cook top-scored with 76 but no one else reached 20 as England struggled to 185 for 8 before Andrew Strauss declared.

For Cook it was his first competitive innings since the one-day series against India in October but for some of his team-mates, notably Strauss and Eoin Morgan, it has been much longer. Strauss last played in mid-September while Morgan suffered a shoulder injury at the start of the home one-day series against India.

"It wasn't ideal," Cook said. "I think we have to put that down to a little bit of rustiness. But credit to the opposition, especially Boyd [Rankin]. I thought he bowled very, very well. I think when you haven't batted outside for probably four months, with whites and a red ball, it does take a while to get into that rhythm. But it's not the end of the world."

However, Cook suggested that even if the top order had fired during the first two sessions, a declaration would have still been part of England's plan to keep the game open.

"I think, if we'd batted better, we still would have pulled out to set up a game. One of [coach] Andy Flower's big things is to try and win these preparation games to make them competitive for us," he said. "They do lack that intensity of Test cricket, of course. But we try to get as much competitive cricket into us as possible, so that when we come to the first morning of that Test match we're ready for it."

It has been a busy time of late for Cook who, while now concentrating on opening the batting for England, got married on New Year's Eve and joined the tour 36 hours later than his team-mates after being granted brief leave by the ECB.

"It was an amazing day - a bit too short with the celebrations afterwards," he said. "Thirty-six hours can't really be allowed to constitute a honeymoon. I hope at some stage in the next 12 months we'll get to go away. But it was very kind of the ECB to give me that time."

Meanwhile Boyd Rankin, who removed Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell during the afternoon session, knows that such performances can't do him any harm with a view to furthering his England ambitions. After this match he will join the Lions squad in Bangladesh and has gained good reviews on the county circuit for Warwickshire.

"Hopefully I've done myself a few favours and shown what I can do," he said. "It is a pretty flat pitch and I'm actually surprised how many wickets have fallen. We had plans against all the batsmen and we did well to put them under pressure. Hopefully we can get a few more runs in the morning and then we'll be confident of bowling them out."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paulboizot on January 10, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Dave Rothery on (January 09 2012, 06:45 AM GMT) said;" People should remember that Ireland is part of the UK". Er, no, it has not been part of the UK for around 90 years, except for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

  • Mayan820 on January 10, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Excellent comment there jmcilhinney! Yes, these poor Ausie fans . . . They are still dreaming of Australian glory on the cricket field and to be fair . . . they do get it right from time to time, but so do just about every other international cricket team these days, even Sri Lanka. I cannot remember a time when the international test cricket field has been more equal than the present. Pakistan is making a surge for that no. 4 spot on the ICC test rankings, very likely even no. 3, Australia is also going for no.3, the Proteas is searching for no.2 and the English will be determined to ward off all of these to retain the no. 1 spot. Where India is heading is difficult to say, no. 4 perhaps?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 9, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    So England are warming up. But still winning as they warm up. And won a three day game during which Anderson and Broad proved lethal with the new ball: on the kind of pitch where you'd be lucky if a 90 mph ball gets above waist height. Oh the critics keep getting proved wrong, let's raise another glass to that shall we? :)

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Too many silly comms to respond to this time. As I type this England have just won but we admit they do need to up their game - batting in particular

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Yougander Reddy on (January 09 2012, 08:59 AM GMT) - A challenge for you. This involves a little research. Show me one post from the last month or so where an English fan has said or intimated that we're already up there with those dominating WI and Aus teams from yesteryear. If you manage to do this , quoting the subject title , date/time and person who posted this , then I will bow down to your opinion. The thing is that there have been no such posts on here from England fans. Obviously we can't control the media if they get a little carried away but even then those who have backed England have said I think they can dominate for years to come. Notice the word Can. I have challenged others who have made similar comms to show me the evidence and no one has responded. The ball's in your court.

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (January 08 2012, 19:15 PM GMT) - Agree it would be nice for these teams to play test cricket etc. However , maybe it is not financially viable. Afghanistan playing OD cricket or T20 cricket against the bigger nations would certainly be progress but I'm guessing Afghan would have to travel as I'd think it would be a security issue to tour there.

  • on January 9, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Once again I have been disappointed by poor batting by Porterfield... I think he should be demoted in the batting order to give way for a player like Shahzad, who is doing very, very well in the middle order...

  • jmcilhinney on January 9, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @joseyesu, people keep saying that the current England team aren't great like the Aust and WI teams of the past like that means that they're not worthy of being #1. No reasonable England fan is claiming greatness but they have proven to be better than everyone else over the last year or so and that entitles them to the prestige of being #1. Does the winner of a race not deserve the win if it's only by a small margin?

  • RandyOZ on January 9, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    Swann! Another failure! Haha, no talent left in England. Might be time to get that poachers gun out again!

  • on January 9, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Biggest joke is people are comparing this english test team with mighty aussie attack of late 90's and 2007 .haha this english team cant win a series in india,pak and sl and that tym aussie team contained all australian players not by importing players frm sa ,ireland etc i know why icc is not giving ireland a test status becoz icc is located and contains many ppl frm england they dont want to lose the previlige of poaching irish players and other minnow teams. If they feed on all irish plqyers like this tgen how will ireland prosper ?? Morgan,rankin,dockrell !! Hope rankin stays with ireland .come on england trust ur english blood rather than eating on minnows.and dont the english county players feel envy that their spots are being taken away by foreigners !!

  • paulboizot on January 10, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Dave Rothery on (January 09 2012, 06:45 AM GMT) said;" People should remember that Ireland is part of the UK". Er, no, it has not been part of the UK for around 90 years, except for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

  • Mayan820 on January 10, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Excellent comment there jmcilhinney! Yes, these poor Ausie fans . . . They are still dreaming of Australian glory on the cricket field and to be fair . . . they do get it right from time to time, but so do just about every other international cricket team these days, even Sri Lanka. I cannot remember a time when the international test cricket field has been more equal than the present. Pakistan is making a surge for that no. 4 spot on the ICC test rankings, very likely even no. 3, Australia is also going for no.3, the Proteas is searching for no.2 and the English will be determined to ward off all of these to retain the no. 1 spot. Where India is heading is difficult to say, no. 4 perhaps?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 9, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    So England are warming up. But still winning as they warm up. And won a three day game during which Anderson and Broad proved lethal with the new ball: on the kind of pitch where you'd be lucky if a 90 mph ball gets above waist height. Oh the critics keep getting proved wrong, let's raise another glass to that shall we? :)

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Too many silly comms to respond to this time. As I type this England have just won but we admit they do need to up their game - batting in particular

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Yougander Reddy on (January 09 2012, 08:59 AM GMT) - A challenge for you. This involves a little research. Show me one post from the last month or so where an English fan has said or intimated that we're already up there with those dominating WI and Aus teams from yesteryear. If you manage to do this , quoting the subject title , date/time and person who posted this , then I will bow down to your opinion. The thing is that there have been no such posts on here from England fans. Obviously we can't control the media if they get a little carried away but even then those who have backed England have said I think they can dominate for years to come. Notice the word Can. I have challenged others who have made similar comms to show me the evidence and no one has responded. The ball's in your court.

  • JG2704 on January 9, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (January 08 2012, 19:15 PM GMT) - Agree it would be nice for these teams to play test cricket etc. However , maybe it is not financially viable. Afghanistan playing OD cricket or T20 cricket against the bigger nations would certainly be progress but I'm guessing Afghan would have to travel as I'd think it would be a security issue to tour there.

  • on January 9, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Once again I have been disappointed by poor batting by Porterfield... I think he should be demoted in the batting order to give way for a player like Shahzad, who is doing very, very well in the middle order...

  • jmcilhinney on January 9, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @joseyesu, people keep saying that the current England team aren't great like the Aust and WI teams of the past like that means that they're not worthy of being #1. No reasonable England fan is claiming greatness but they have proven to be better than everyone else over the last year or so and that entitles them to the prestige of being #1. Does the winner of a race not deserve the win if it's only by a small margin?

  • RandyOZ on January 9, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    Swann! Another failure! Haha, no talent left in England. Might be time to get that poachers gun out again!

  • on January 9, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Biggest joke is people are comparing this english test team with mighty aussie attack of late 90's and 2007 .haha this english team cant win a series in india,pak and sl and that tym aussie team contained all australian players not by importing players frm sa ,ireland etc i know why icc is not giving ireland a test status becoz icc is located and contains many ppl frm england they dont want to lose the previlige of poaching irish players and other minnow teams. If they feed on all irish plqyers like this tgen how will ireland prosper ?? Morgan,rankin,dockrell !! Hope rankin stays with ireland .come on england trust ur english blood rather than eating on minnows.and dont the english county players feel envy that their spots are being taken away by foreigners !!

  • CricketingStargazer on January 9, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Incidentally, Boyd Rankin is about as Irish as I am South African but, anyway, that's beside the point because most people would put him no higher than about 14th or 15th in the peaking order, well behind players like Woakes and Shazad, neither of whom are going to get a game unless there is a mass attack of food poisoning in both the main squad and the Lions... It's not beside the point that a well known English county player who was on the fringes of England recognition two or three years ago has discovered some Irish ascestry and is likely to take up his lot with the Emerald Isle as he has no more chance of playing for England now with the squad depth than our old cobber Jonesy has.

  • jmcilhinney on January 9, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @jonesy2, let's see now, they got NEAR the top ranking by thumping Australia 3-1 in Australia as I recall. They then got TO the top ranking by thumping the then #1 team 4-0. You really need to pay more attention. You're sniffing around articles and stories about England so much that you really should know this stuff. But then, you really do have a short memory, don't you? It doesn't extend back as far as Australia being bowled out for 47 or even as far back as getting beaten by NZ, so we can't expect too much. You should just ask RandyOz because he obviously remembers. The poor guy is obviously still traumatised by the last Ashes. He just keeps mumbling the same thing over and over. Classic PTSD. On no, he's got a short memory too though. After one day of the Sydney test he had already forgotten that he wanted Ponting and Hilfenhaus out of the team barely a week earlier.

  • on January 9, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    All credit to the associates. They should have a test team, ASAP. On this evidence (and without the Dutchmen, Morgan, the Anglo-Dane Amji Khan and the Malaysian Suppiah) they are as good as NZ and the Windies, never mind Bangla and Zim.

    They'd probably win series against India anywhere but bore-track land.

  • jackiethepen on January 9, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    It is a pity that spite seems to be the prevailing emotion among certain fans rather than sportsmanship. Perhaps that is why winning is more important than decency. Don't expect cricket fans these days to be different from other sports. Australia were all out for 47 in South Africa. Now they are beating India. Doesn't that remind everyone that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties which makes it so interesting? Everyone who follows cricket knows that 'the collapse' is part of the game and which makes it so exciting.

  • CricketingStargazer on January 9, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Jonsey, nice one. By your logic Australia's Test status should be revoked after their success against New Zealand and Australia, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka should all be regarded as overrated for recent displays. Is there anyone left? Maybe you propose that the West INdies are the rightful #1? Do you follow cricket? Thought not!!

  • on January 9, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    People should remember that Ireland is part of the UK, besides who can blame the player for wanting to play for England rather than playing irrelevant games for their own country. How many people would get to see Morgan batting? A lot of these people do come through the England system - I guess Trott and KP are the exception - a bit like Symons and Khawaja, though no-one seems to moan about them......

  • on January 9, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    I do like the comments about this warm up game from the Indians, who couldn't even beat a county side in their warm up - and remember how you were still goi.g to beat England 4-0 after that.... remind me what happened again? At least Pakistan will give us a decent series.

  • RandyOZ on January 9, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Another import putting his head above all of the English players. Not really surprising considering how weak the county system currently is. Hell if an Irishman can make a cricket team you know you are in deep trouble. Selectors might need to make a few more trips down to Joburg. Either them or Trott, Pietersen, Strauss, Prior, Dernbach, Meaker, Roy, Kieswetter or Lumb when they go home to visit their families.

  • jonesy2 on January 9, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    OhhhMattyMatty -- ahahaha an irishman is engands 8th best bowler? oh dear me how on earth did england get near the top ranking. nice way to sum up the shambles that is your batsmen also

  • joseyesu on January 9, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    First let us test your No.1 status with Pak, If you still survive then we will go with Sri and finally India in homegrounds. You are not a team like Aus in 2000 to 2007 to have the prestige of no.1

  • satish619chandar on January 9, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty : Rankin a English bowler?? Why did u leave others.. Everyone playing cricket in the universe is a English player..

  • landl47 on January 9, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    My, but there's a lot of people here confused about the difference between a warm-up game and a test match! And I see we are back to the silly comments about people who are qualified for England being born elsewhere. Apart from the fact that it would be the height of stupidity not to pick the eleven best players qualified for the side, it would also, under EU law, be illegal for England not to consider Irish players who make themselves available for selection. Grow up, people- this mixture of ignorance and sour grapes is making you look very petty.

  • foursandsixes on January 9, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    Pakistan are going to kick some English butt! Get ready boys!

  • satish619chandar on January 9, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    Just a warmup.. Every player got a chance to bat/bowl and that is enough for a warmup.. They can just work on the things they did wrong in the match and correct it before tha actual game starts.. But the actual game ll be lot harder to bat as the attack is more competitive..

  • cricket_fan_1980 on January 9, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Rustiness is a very lame excuse. England are a second rate and overhyped side. Any side that performs this way does not deserve the no. 1 ranking. Shoddy shoddy shoddy display by the English (incl imports). Building a lot of pressure on themselves prior to taking on a Pakistan side that is anything but rusty.

  • David-Bowden on January 9, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Come on girls - save the derisory comments until the English lose the match.....if they do. I can never understand why people are so eager to pounce on a practice match and draw such exaggerated conclusions from it. Let's keep the passion up but without the malice....please!

  • da_man_ on January 9, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty; humility is a good quality to possess. I never saw the great Aussie team in this situation, let alone making excuses. Don't make the IDENTICAL mistakes India made before the England tour. Learn from others' mistakes and improve yourselves. There is always room to get better.

  • D.S.A on January 9, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    There is all of this talk about England being the number one team in the world, but until England stop selecting South Africans and the Irishman, England have no right to call themselves the number one country in the world. If you're partly composed of players who haven't even come through your own system, that country is flawed to begin with, and any achievements that result from it are irrelevant and are written off by those with some intellect.

  • igorolman on January 8, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Don't be silly, boys. I'm old enough to remember England getting humped by South Australia in the first game of the 1978-9 series. What was the result of that one again? Rustiness is a poor excuse, but end of the day who will remember this game in 6 months' time? The Namibian lad who got within 2 of a ton and ... that's it. The Test matches are everything, my children. Obviously I'd rather we win this, but if not, meh - I'm more concerned about Ajmal than Dockrell!

  • HatsforBats on January 8, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Very devious of the United XI to stage trial matches for the affiliates; looks like Boyd will be getting a British passport and an ECB contract. The problem will come when Strauss shuffles off (he's always been an ordinary test batsman and he's no tactical genius); it's been a long time since an English batsman made a successful debut and the last few English batsmen have been rubbish, so which Irishhmen or Saffer will they be poaching next. Although, with the strength of the lower order batting I'd like to see them go with 5 bowlers.

  • on January 8, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    Certainly Cook is beating him self around the bush. He named Rankin coz he plays county cricket but Hamid hassan bowled much better than him. He got the 2 important wickets of Strauss and Trott. As well he has beaten the outside edge of Cook's bat many times. It is really humiliating for England that they can't compete ICC combined team.

  • Meety on January 8, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @ OhhhMattyMatty - not only did the "GUN" England side get belted, the "LIONS" got flogged by Bangladesh A! LOL! Also - nice that your "8th" choice is an Irishman, shows that actual English depth is crud!

  • CricketingStargazer on January 8, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    First innings of the tour. We heard similar comments in Australia last winner. Let's cut them some slack! There are 4 more innings before it becomes (a) a habit and (b) a crisis. I'm delighted though for the Associate and Affliliate XI, particularly the Afghans and Irish who need more opportunities like this. How many official ODIs have these two sides played against Full Members? Have the played any 4 day matches against sides other than Associates. Time to give these players more chances on the big stage. They have given England a far better game than any of the Australian State sides did last winter.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 8, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    I think Afghanistan and Ireland should be given elevation to the next level. Ireland should play test cricket and Afghanistan should play ODI cricket. The ICC needs to take some tough decisions with regards to test cricket's structure. Currently, too many POSERS in test cricket. We need two leagues for test cricket with a relegation system in place and the implementation of UDRS must be made mandatory. The BCCI should be penalized for any obstruction of policy and the Indian cricketers should have a players' representation body. I hope these changes will come in the near future. World cricket as it stands now is messed up.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 8, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    This is just the first tour game and nothing to worry at all on the batting front. Remember, batsmen will have only one chance and a small silly mistake, they will take the long walk back to the pavillion. What I didn't like is declaring on 185/8. That's cowardice I guess. Swann didn't impress in the first inning by conceding 99 for just one Associate scalp. You would expect the world's 'best spinner' to role them over. BTW, did he kick the stumps in the first inning out of frustration as he did against Indians? Let's see what he brings to the table in the second inning.

  • JG2704 on January 8, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Quite strange when I think about it that Broad (the bowler who has been out of action for the longest) was statistically the most effective and Cook (who arrived later than anyone else) was the most effective with the bat. Obviously hope it is more of a rust thing. I remember on the OD tour of India we started off showing huge potential (albeit vs mediocre sides) and then were awful in the full series. Hopefully this will be the reverse.

  • pigeotto99 on January 8, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    english bowlers have done well though, batsman had a bad day! thats it, you cant harp on about england being poor when we have been consistently good since 09, first game since august and didnt bat well. Pakitans inexperienced average attack will have to preform out of there skins. Ajmal is the only quality bowler, alongside amir and asif and another seamer would have been a decent attack (one that was convincingly beaten by basically the same batting line up as england have now) but as it is pakistan can get all the confidence they want beating minnows, when the first test rolls round its all englands to lose.

  • Irelandcricketfan on January 8, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    good work Boyd Rankin on a flat track. Stick with us big man. Hope dockrell gets a bowl second innings. This is a much stiffer warm up for england than all the oz state sides last year.

  • on January 8, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    OhhhMattyMatty: Boyd Rankin is Irish.. but you are right in calling him an 8th choice English bowler cause he probably is considered that by the ECB, so no, no one else can say they have an 8th choice fast bowler as good as Rankin cause no one else has 3 country's talent to draw on, since England mooches off both Ireland and SA

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 8, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Yes batsmen are bound to be rusty after such a long break. I won't write off England yet because they are no.1 and this will be their toughest trial since taking that ranking from India. England's true mettle will come to the fore in the coming months as they will travel to similar conditions around the UAE then over to Sri Lanka and then finally India. I am sure England will regain their true form as they get their feet warm with more practice. There is another practice match before the 1st test so I wouldn't worry much at this point in time.

  • on January 8, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty- but that's just the thing, they were unlucky. But if they're unlucky against such a bowling attack, then who knows how they'll perform against Pakistan's varied attack, who most probably won't give them too many long hops and leg side balls. England are a great team, but so are Pakistan and that's what will make it such a great series.

  • Khan1983 on January 8, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    OhhhMattyMatty, coming up with excuses for No.1 Test team batters! Supposed to be legendary team of our time, and stumbling against an Associate team mediocre bowling attack, and as soon as the shine goes from the red ball,allowing batters who ain't even in the team for batting to dominate,so much for No1 teams' bowlers! Really u r aptly named - OhMattyMatty!!

  • wrenx on January 8, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Good for Cook, it sounds like he performed where his team-mates all faltered. The UAE should suit the Cook/Trott/Prior/Strauss style of batting. Sure, it's never any fun to watch, but I'm sure they'll leave with their averages beefed up a bit.

  • ishrat1971 on January 8, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Boys get ready the Brit brigade is here a little rusty and we should take advantage of the rustiness and try and win the first test. With Junaid Khan ,Gul and Ajmal providing the fire power and Hafeez, Cheema and Co providing able assistance we should get good competitive games unlike the one sided agneepath series. Vijay Deenanath Chohan must be regreting lending his name to the series down under

  • OhhhMattyMatty on January 8, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Trott got a shocker, Strauss would smash that long hop for 4 99 times out of 100 and not pick out square leg and Cook was out to a leg side strangle! No need to worry. Only threat to the batsmen was an English bowler in Rankin! Does any International team have a better 8th choice fast bowler than Boyd Rankin?!

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  • OhhhMattyMatty on January 8, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    Trott got a shocker, Strauss would smash that long hop for 4 99 times out of 100 and not pick out square leg and Cook was out to a leg side strangle! No need to worry. Only threat to the batsmen was an English bowler in Rankin! Does any International team have a better 8th choice fast bowler than Boyd Rankin?!

  • ishrat1971 on January 8, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Boys get ready the Brit brigade is here a little rusty and we should take advantage of the rustiness and try and win the first test. With Junaid Khan ,Gul and Ajmal providing the fire power and Hafeez, Cheema and Co providing able assistance we should get good competitive games unlike the one sided agneepath series. Vijay Deenanath Chohan must be regreting lending his name to the series down under

  • wrenx on January 8, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Good for Cook, it sounds like he performed where his team-mates all faltered. The UAE should suit the Cook/Trott/Prior/Strauss style of batting. Sure, it's never any fun to watch, but I'm sure they'll leave with their averages beefed up a bit.

  • Khan1983 on January 8, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    OhhhMattyMatty, coming up with excuses for No.1 Test team batters! Supposed to be legendary team of our time, and stumbling against an Associate team mediocre bowling attack, and as soon as the shine goes from the red ball,allowing batters who ain't even in the team for batting to dominate,so much for No1 teams' bowlers! Really u r aptly named - OhMattyMatty!!

  • on January 8, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty- but that's just the thing, they were unlucky. But if they're unlucky against such a bowling attack, then who knows how they'll perform against Pakistan's varied attack, who most probably won't give them too many long hops and leg side balls. England are a great team, but so are Pakistan and that's what will make it such a great series.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 8, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Yes batsmen are bound to be rusty after such a long break. I won't write off England yet because they are no.1 and this will be their toughest trial since taking that ranking from India. England's true mettle will come to the fore in the coming months as they will travel to similar conditions around the UAE then over to Sri Lanka and then finally India. I am sure England will regain their true form as they get their feet warm with more practice. There is another practice match before the 1st test so I wouldn't worry much at this point in time.

  • on January 8, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    OhhhMattyMatty: Boyd Rankin is Irish.. but you are right in calling him an 8th choice English bowler cause he probably is considered that by the ECB, so no, no one else can say they have an 8th choice fast bowler as good as Rankin cause no one else has 3 country's talent to draw on, since England mooches off both Ireland and SA

  • Irelandcricketfan on January 8, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    good work Boyd Rankin on a flat track. Stick with us big man. Hope dockrell gets a bowl second innings. This is a much stiffer warm up for england than all the oz state sides last year.

  • pigeotto99 on January 8, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    english bowlers have done well though, batsman had a bad day! thats it, you cant harp on about england being poor when we have been consistently good since 09, first game since august and didnt bat well. Pakitans inexperienced average attack will have to preform out of there skins. Ajmal is the only quality bowler, alongside amir and asif and another seamer would have been a decent attack (one that was convincingly beaten by basically the same batting line up as england have now) but as it is pakistan can get all the confidence they want beating minnows, when the first test rolls round its all englands to lose.

  • JG2704 on January 8, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Quite strange when I think about it that Broad (the bowler who has been out of action for the longest) was statistically the most effective and Cook (who arrived later than anyone else) was the most effective with the bat. Obviously hope it is more of a rust thing. I remember on the OD tour of India we started off showing huge potential (albeit vs mediocre sides) and then were awful in the full series. Hopefully this will be the reverse.