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How to write about England: a handy primer

If you're hard-pressed to come up with the right things to say, this DIY template will help

Alan Tyers
Gary Ballance was bowled by Trent Boult, England v New Zealand, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day, June 2, 2015

Gary Ballance: a treasure / a disgraceful example of the lack of truth in advertising  •  Getty Images

What next for the England cricket team? Thrilling performances like Lord's, or grim capitulations like Headingley? It's getting harder and harder for writers and commentators to keep up. Here's a multipurpose deadline-busting news report to help get ahead of the game.
The feel-good factor / familiar sense of crushing disappointment was back for England cricket following their most recent inspiring / useless display.
A group of young / callow cricketers performed with no fear / idea of how to play cricket as England once again demonstrated that they are well on the way to / still light years away from consistent competence.
The question now is whether they can upset* an intimidating Australian side / get through the Ashes without actually crying.
The energy / skittishness was plain for all to see as a succession of England batsmen took the fight to the opposition / ridiculous risks in a batting performance that made their recent dismal World Cup showing feel like a thing of the past / only yesterday.
England's new approaches / perennial failings were there for all to see as a series of batsmen played expansive / brainless shots in ideal batting conditions / an icy hurricane.
The top order provided a solid platform / handy cure for insomnia before the more expressive / daft middle-order men came in and played as if they had a point to prove / train to catch. New supremo Andrew Strauss was noted quietly nodding approvingly / sobbing into his Veuve Clicquot.
The only question for Strauss would appear to be why he didn't take the job sooner / ever gave up cushy number in the Sky commentary box to become associated once again with this shower.
England's revitalised / embattled captain Alastair Cook was slightly robotic / slightly robotic as he praised / defended his team.
"Obviously, there are a lot of positives to take from / there are a lot of positives to take from this victory / defeat," he said. "Belly has shown that he has matured so much / is still prone to the odd lapse and it's just a matter of time before he comes good / someone actually strangles him. And as for Garry Ballance, he has shown once again that he is putting his struggles behind him / should be deported back to Zimbabwe with immediate demands for a refund."
Kevin Pietersen had his say with a supportive / provocative tweet.
16:13:18 GMT, June 5, 2015: "upset" was not in bold, as it should have been, when the article was first published