English cricketers are on the shooting line after another inept stick demonstration, this time on the opening day of the fourth Test against India.
Play on the same court in Ahmedabad where they lost in two days last week, England are once again in the background.
After Captain Joe Root wins the toss and chooses to beat, visitors were eliminated for just 205, on ground generally considered good for the stick.
Nick Hoult in The Telegraph led the condemnation, arguing that the pitch should have been suitable for the English batsmen.
“There can be no excuse for this performance,” he wrote. “The pitch or the growling about the umpires cannot be used to distract from a bad batting show in England which has given India the advantage.
“England’s stick problems can be summed up as they haven’t managed a fifty partnership since the first test and only have one batsman – Root – averaging over 29 . From 578 in the first innings in Chennai, they backed off with the batsmen. Guilty of repeating the same mistakes with softer layoffs here. ”
Lead commentator Harsha Bhogle was another who lamented England’s poor performance, describing their total as “below par”.
“Unhappy for England so far,” he tweeted during their innings.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan never hesitates to criticize his former team and he could hardly believe what he was seeing.
“It was a terrible batting demonstration,” he tweeted.
“England’s stick is way worse than any of the last tests. This ground is a perfect surface to get a big score in the first set. No spin, the ball hits the bat.
“Very bad stick so far.”
England found themselves in immediate trouble, reduced to 2-15 in eight rounds, with openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley both falling cheaply.
Sibley is averaging 18.71 in seven innings this series, although 87 of his 131 points have been in a single inning, while Crawley is averaging 20.66 in three innings.
“The way England’s two opener came out this morning, it’s fair to say the scars from the last two games are still fresh on their minds,” said former Indian batsman VVS Laxman.
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