England v South Africa Tests
Broad stumped by England's inconsistency
Paceman says experience of 2015 Ashes has given England belief ahead of third Test against South Africa
23 July 2017, 10:50 PM AEST
Fast bowler Stuart Broad says England have been unable to identify the reasons for their inconsistency in Test cricket, which has again been the main feature of their current series against South Africa.
England were thrashed by 340 runs in the second Test at Trent Bridge last week, facing just 96.1 overs across both innings, their lowest total since 2009.
Their heavy defeat in Nottingham came just a week after they hammered the Proteas at Lord's, a victory built on a superb century from new skipper Joe Root and 10 wickets to spinner Moeen Ali.
Following a victory with a loss has become an unwanted trend of this England side under coach Trevor Bayliss; they have played 30 Tests since the Australian took over in 2015 and have won two Tests in a row on only three occasions.
"We know it's not the first time we've followed a good performance with a bad one," Broad wrote in The Daily Mail.
"We spoke about it with coach Trevor Bayliss, and what we need to do to change the trend. It's hard to put your finger on why it keeps happening.
"It's not that we relax mentally after a win. In fact, maybe we try too hard and put too much pressure on ourselves."
Underlining England's inconsistency, two of the three instances of them winning consecutive Tests in the past two years have been bookended by heavy defeats.
Back-to-back wins against Australia, at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, in the 2015 Ashes were sandwiched between heavy losses at Lord's and The Oval respectively. And the two London venues were witness to two huge wins to Pakistan last English summer, which came either side of comprehensive England victories (in Manchester and Birmingham).
Broad says the hosts will draw on their Ashes experience from two years ago as inspiration for the third Test, which starts at The Oval on Thursday.
"What's happened so far against South Africa reminds me of the 2015 Ashes," he wrote. "We beat Australia easily in the first Test at Cardiff, then lost the second badly at Lord's.
"After that, we had a bit of gap before the next game — as we have this time — then had two good wins at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge. We're planning to draw on that experience now."
While retaining the Basil D'Oliveria Trophy is England's major goal over the next two weeks, they could also gain a small physiological edge over Australia ahead of the Ashes this summer.
An England series win or a drawn series will move them ahead of Australia and into third spot on the ICC's official Test rankings, with a three-Test series against the West Indies to come in August and September.
Australia's only Test assignment between now and the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in November is their two-Test series in Bangladesh, starting on August 27.
Consistently inconsistent England under Trevor Bayliss
M: 30 | W: 12 | L: 14 | D: 4