England v New Zealand Tests - Men's
'Fragile' batting sounds Ashes alarm for England
Nasser Hussain says England are trying to 'reinvent the wheel' and need to look at New Zealand as a prototype for Test match batting
13 June 2021, 10:15 AM AEST
Michael Vaughan says England have "no chance" of winning the Ashes this summer unless they solve their batting woes as three former Test skippers lamented a match-defining collapse against New Zealand at Edgbaston.
Having conceded a first-innings deficit of 85, England slumped to 7-76 on day three of the second Test and needed some late resistance from their tail to avoid an innings defeat and take the game into a fourth day.
Across England's four innings in this series, only Rory Burns (238 runs at 59.50) and Dan Lawrence have averaged more than 35, with Lawrence returning two ducks to go with his unbeaten 81 in the first innings at Edgbaston.
Former captain Nasser Hussain claimed English batsmen at both international and county level are attempting to "reinvent the wheel" in long-form cricket and lamented the unorthodox techniques of some members of the England top order.
With five Tests against India to come this northern summer, Vaughan fears England will be no match for Australia's bowlers later in the year unless some significant improvement is made.
"They now have just five chances to sort the batting out before the Ashes," Vaughan told the BBC.
"They can't arrive in Australia with a batting line-up this fragile - they'd have no chance.
"We have to now start looking at players and wondering if they are good enough, because they keep getting out cheaply."
Several members of England's top order have developed homespun techniques that have enabled them to become the leading batsmen at domestic level, with Burns, Dom Sibley and Dan Lawrence all having noticeably unorthodox batting styles.
Hussain pointed to New Zealand's batsmen as an example of how traditional batting techniques can succeed at the highest level and urged England batsmen to get back to basics.
"They have all these odd techniques and idiosyncratic movements," Hussain told The Daily Mail.
"In county cricket, they are all standing on off-stump and flashing at balls outside off.
"It's like everyone else is wrong — all those great players of the past, people like Sir Viv Richards and Graham Gooch — and they are right.
💬 "They are acting like 'everyone else that has played in the history of the game are wrong, and we are right'." 💬@NasserCricket not happy after watching England suffer another batting collapse on day three of the second Test against New Zealand.#ENGvNZ 🏴🇳🇿— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 12, 2021
"These days, everyone seems to want to get their left leg out of the way but if they know what they’re doing, where are the runs to back that up?
"In Sri Lanka, Joe Root carried them. We were told that the problem in India was that the ball spun but we don't have the excuse of the pitches turning here. I just don't understand the techniques I am witnessing.
"Compare them to those of New Zealand, who are committed to orthodox Test match batting. It's just chalk and cheese."
Former skipper Alastair Cook said he was concerned that not only are England's batsmen falling cheaply, they often lose wickets in clumps.
"You always watch England thinking that if they lose one wicket then they could easily lose two, three or four," he told the BBC.
"When the pressure comes on, whether it's inexperience or the players just aren't good enough, they can't withstand the opposition's bowling."
England coach Chris Silverwood said the impending return of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler would strengthen the middle order for the India series, but added batting spots will be up for grabs if the low scores continue.
"(Making changes) is certainly something we'll be looking at," he said. "In the conversations I'll have with the captain and the assistant coaches, that will be looked at.
"We talk about what we're going to look like in Australia (and) I would certainly like to start galvanising that Test team, certainly through the India series.
"I am not going to lie it was a great opportunity for some of the lads to come in and really stamp their mark on the game (in this series). We spoke about that at the beginning of this series and I am sure one of two will be disappointed they haven't been able to do that."
England's top seven v New Zealand
Rory Burns: 132, 25, 81, 0 (238 runs @ 59.50)
Dom Sibley: 0, 60*, 35, 8 (103 runs @ 34.33)
Zak Crawley: 2, 2, 0, 17 (21 runs @ 5.25)
Joe Root: 42, 40, 4, 11 (97 runs @ 24.25)
Ollie Pope: 22, 20*, 19, 23 (84 runs @ 28.00)
Dan Lawrence: 0, 81*, 0 (81 runs @ 40.50)
James Bracey: 0, 0, 8 (8 runs @ 2.66)
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Dec 8-12: First Test, The Gabba
Dec 16-20: Second Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 5-9: Fourth Test, SCG
Jan 14-18: Fifth Test, Perth Stadium