England vs India second test comment: The batting collapse is as English as rainy picnics or the Archers

Even for a nation whose history is littered with famous batting meltdowns, this is a particularly dismal run for England

Lord's

You can talk of new eras and of executing plans, you can banish troublesome players and turn all the dials on your PR machine up to 11, but it seems with England and cricket you can never escape the collapse.

Like rainy picnics, the Archers or a postman’s penchant for wearing shorts in February, the batting collapse remains a never-ending facet of life in England – its grim familiarity only making it slightly worse on every occasion, like a tiresome relative who only knows one joke.

It is the evil older brother of that other peculiarly English trait, eternal optimism, and it always wins their fights, a dark cloud to silence even the most vociferous cries of “I think it’s brightening up”.

And so it proved once again at Lord’s.

After the blow of losing a wicket to the last ball before lunch, England had come out from the break positively.

Suddenly the target was down to just 121 with five wickets still in hand, and with Joe Root well set and a deep batting line-up, the murmur of optimists began to grow around the ground.

Of course they should have known better, we should all have known better, but then everything is so much simpler in hindsight and a batting collapse by its very nature defies logic, even at the frequency with which this England side produces them.

This though was incompetence on an unprecedented scale, as Ishant Sharma, always the punchline never the punch, knocked over four of England’s batsmen in quick succession with a spell of short-pitched bowling that was more obvious than it was hostile. Alastair Cook is refusing to resign as England captain despite this defeat Alastair Cook is refusing to resign as England captain despite this defeat

The coup de grace though could not have been more perfect. Ravi Jadeja – India’s  moustache-curling, bat-twirling, irritator extraordinaire – running out his Trent Bridge sparring partner James Anderson with a direct hit.

At 1:57pm, England looked like they might pull off an unlikely win. By 2:46pm, they had lost the match – in less than an hour they had lost five wickets for only 25 runs.

Even for a nation whose history is littered with famous batting meltdowns, from the one that spawned the Ashes to the 2006 defeat in Adelaide via countless mishaps against West Indian pace attacks, this is a particularly dismal run for England who have suffered collapses now in nine successive Tests.

Perhaps in fact the thing it most resembles is a batting collapse – each consecutive crumbling somehow managing to be both increasingly predictable and yet even more unbelievable with every passing game.

From losing 8/54 and then 7/49 in successive innings at Brisbane, back in November, to losing 6/68 in the last Test at Trent Bridge, this England side are taking collapsing to all new highs – or should that be lows?

There was the loss of 6/61 in the first innings at Perth, the 5/18 against Sri Lanka at Headingley in June, or perhaps the connoisseur’s choice, the 5/6 in the second innings at Melbourne.

As the team reflects on another Test without a win, there will be blame for captain, coach and anyone else who cares to stand in the firing line, but as changes are made and new strategies planned, they would all do well to prepare against that oldest of foes, the English batting collapse.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent