England win the Test series against India but no thanks to their top order

Alex Broun 23:38 02/09/2018
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Sam Curran shows off his flawless technique

England are celebrating a thrilling Test series victory but it is no thanks to their top order. Indeed, the hosts have clinched the Pataudi Trophy despite the woeful efforts of their “best batsman.”

Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope (when he joined for two tests) and to a lesser extent Joe Root have contributed precious little to their team’s cause.

In total the four top England batsmen scored just 487 runs between in the four Tests at an average of just 20.29 per innings.

Compare that to tail-enders Chris Woakes and 20-year-old superstar Sam Curran who totaled 660 runs between them at an average of 44 each time they strode to the wicket.

And its not just England’s problem.

Thanks for nothing - Alastair Cook (r) and Keaton Jennings

Thanks for nothing – Alastair Cook (r) and Keaton Jennings

Take away the superb Virat Kohli from India’s stats and their remaining four top order batsman compiled just 645 runs at an average of 26.87.

Compare that to Kohli who on his own has scored 544 runs in the series at an average of 68.

And this isn’t an issue confined just to these two teams: South Africa’s top order disintegrated against Bangladesh averaging just 16.64 per wicket in their recent test series.

So why this shrinking lack of runs from Numbers 1 to 4.

The main reason is poor technique.

With so much white ball cricket being played, batsmen are being forced to improvise shots, trust their eyes and play across the line.

That’s easy to do on the astro-turf like pitches of T20 and One-Dayers where there is very little sideways or up and down movement.

Get out into the test arena, where the ball is talking, and the deficiencies in technique are cruelly exposed.

Indeed, the batsmen with the best technique in the series so far, apart from Kohli, is young Sam Curran – which is shown by his 251 runs at an average of over 50.

Hopefully he can preserve that technique through the mountain of white-ball cricket he will be playing over the next few years.

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