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The Surfer

Is the tag of 'England's best-ever team' attainable?

Andrew Strauss has big aspirations for his men but the Lord's Test exposed a lack of ruthlessness, says Stephen Brenkley, writing in the Independent .

Nikita Bastian
Nikita Bastian
25-Feb-2013
Andrew Strauss has big aspirations for his men but the Lord's Test exposed a lack of ruthlessness, says Stephen Brenkley, writing in the Independent.
It was not simply that England made elementary mistakes in all three departments of the game, errors that they had virtually erased in the four innings defeats they had inflicted in their previous five Tests. There was a perceived lack of ruthlessness about their push for victory. England left themselves 58 overs to dismiss Sri Lanka, having first put the match beyond their opponents ... But a team with genuine belief in being the best ever might have trusted its instincts a little more, offered Sri Lanka just a sniff of victory and then crushed them.
At Lord's, says Lawrence Booth, writing in the Daily Mail, England interspersed resilience with mediocrity.
This [Sri Lanka's long innings] had nothing to do with the sameness of the attack – unless you genuinely believe Jade Dernbach would have overcome a tedious Lord's track on his Test debut – and everything to do with bowlers who had a collective off-day. It happens. It just doesn't happen very often these days to England. Andrew Strauss made the very reasonable point that his bowlers aren't robots. But, amid all the talk about England's plans to ascend to the top of the Test rankings, isn't it equally reasonable to wonder why the tall trio all fell short?
Geoffrey Boycott, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says while England's batsmen continue to shine, there are question marks over the bowling attack.
Somebody has to decide what type of bowler he [Stuart Broad] is going to be for England. I believe he is not an express, wicket-taking bowler. He should be the seamer who pitches it up and bowls line and length at off stump. He should be the “go to” block-up-an-end-type bowler who cuts down opposition scoring and squeezes the pressure on them. Every good side have had a bowler of that type.
With James Anderson set to reclaim his spot in the XI for the third Test at the Rose Bowl, choosing between Stuart Broad and Steve Finn is not as clear cut a choice as might be assumed, says Mike Selvey, writing in the Guardian.
When it comes to the Rose Bowl, both Andy Flower and Strauss may take the view that Broad is only just returned to the side after two injuries during the winter and that as such he is feeling his way back into international cricket. There is also a case for saying his figures from this series do not offer a fair reflection of his bowling, where good fortune has not followed him. Finn, on the other hand, will be seen as an extremely promising work very much in progress. But it is a close run thing between the two.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo