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HomeAshesAn in-depth look at England's batting struggles

An in-depth look at England’s batting struggles

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Last Updated on 7 years by Charbel Coorey

England picked up a victory in their most recent tour match against Cricket Australia XI, but it was far from convincing. It’s not often a team could have so many concerns after a win, but that is the situation England find themselves in at the moment.

England in this Test boasted 417 Test matches worth of experience, even without Stuart Broad, who himself has played 109 Tests. The Cricket Australia XI, excluding captain Tim Paine, have played a combined total of 59 first-class matches.

During the match, I was embarrassed for England. They had absolutely no excuse to struggle like they did in this match, and the most concerning aspect is that this is not a one-off. This is a product of their struggle for a long time to find their right combination, especially in their top order. Potentially without Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, England are in some trouble.

Opening troubles

Alastair Cook, who is having his own challenges at the moment, has had 11 opening partners since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012. Mark Stoneman is the latest to be handed the challenge, and despite performing well in this tour match, has a less-than-impressive average of 35 in 153 first-class matches. In just three career Tests so far v lowly West Indies, he’s averaged 30. It’s unfair of England to ask big things of Mark Stoneman in the Ashes, and the question is – how confident are England about Mark Stoneman doing really well against a strong Australian pace attack?

Number 3 troubles

England have also been unable to settle on a number three for the last few years.
James Vince couldn’t go on to get a significant score in either innings.
James Vince was even surprised at his call up for an Ashes spot, and his habit of getting a start and not converting was on show again in Adelaide. In seven Tests to date, Vince has yet to register a half century, and averages less than 20. This is despite reaching double figures in 7 of his 11 innings so far. What’s concerning are some technical deficiencies on and around off-stump. Considered an elegant driver of the ball, Vince has the knack of not getting into line of the ball at times, often edging behind the wicket. With the extra bounce in Australia, this is a significant concern.
Like Mark Stoneman, can England really feel confident about James Vince having a big series at number three?
All of a sudden, you have question marks about your top three batsmen which represents a significant opportunity for Australia to pounce. Alastair Cook has managed just 47 runs in three innings on tour, and with an unproven Test opener and number three, England have headaches at the top.
England need Alastair Cook to have a big series.

Middle order question marks

England’s 7/45 collapse against Cricket Australia XI would have sent shivers down the spines of all England fans. Luckily, the classy Jonny Bairstow saved his team from further embarrassment with a fine second innings knock. England face the possibility of being without Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali for at least the start of the series, so the question is who else will step up?
Joe Root faces not only the pressure of being captain in an Ashes series, but also the pressure of contributing well with the bat all the time. One of the best batsmen in the world, Root simply has to deliver with England’s middle-lower options looking a bit thin.
Dawid Malan has only 5 Tests under his belt. Gary Ballance since 2014 has scored 769 runs in 15 Tests at an average of just 27.46, and has previously struggled against Australia’s pace. Is Chris Woakes batting one place too high at 7?
These are issues that England must address, otherwise their bowlers will be left with too much to do. With injuries and other issues to contend with, the onus is on England’s batsmen.
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From number 1-7, England have significant questions to answer. 
It seems that England are relying on inexperienced players with modest first class records to deliver an Ashes victory against arguably the best pace attack in the world. It will be interesting to see if they can prove me wrong.
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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