It is right to celebrate a great Test match but we have to remember England have only just beaten Bangladesh, the ninth-ranked team in the world.

Yes, Bangladesh are a developing side, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take time out instead for a reality check.

England have beaten Bangladesh by 22 runs having won the toss. If Bangladesh had won the toss, batted first, and England last it could have been very different.

If England perform how they did in Chittagong when the first Test starts in two weeks time against India, then they will be hammered.

If our spinners bowl to India like they did in the first innings against Bangladesh there will be 600 on the board. If England’s top order is 21 for three against India, they are not going to make 200.

If the tactics are slightly wrong with field settings, as they were in Chittagong with the field too spread for the spinners, then India will expose England so let’s see this Test as a warning. England got away with it but must improve.

England showed skill at times, especially the seamers with reverse swing. The engine room of all-rounders Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali played well. They are a juggernaut and many teams around the world will see them as a problem to play against. You cannot keep them quiet but twice England were three down for not very many and the all-rounders cannot continually bail the team out.

Changing the personnel does not seem to make any difference in the top order because they have consistently failed and the opposition knows they can have England three down cheaply.

I personally would have played Haseeb Hameed in the first Test. England have five left-handers in the top six. If you arrive with that line up in India against Ravi Ashwin turning the ball away from the left-handers then you are not a bright or clever-thinking unit.

I do not mind playing Duckett but I would have put him in the middle order ahead of Gary Ballance and opened with Hameed. That would have brought one more right-hander in the top order.

Now they have opened with Duckett they cannot change it after one game. Duckett stays opening with Cook so England have to bring Jos Buttler in for Ballance. He has just not cut it. Sometimes consistency in selection can start to make you look silly.

If Bangladesh had chased the 33 runs to win on the final morning, England would definitely change the batting line-up for the second Test in Dhaka. I hope they do not think because they have won a close game they have to stay consistent with a winning team. There are problems with that unit and they have to start preparing for a couple of weeks time when Ashwin is bowling.

I look back at the 2013 Ashes when Australia arrived in England with a lot of left-handers. Graeme Swann had them on toast. Yes, pitches were prepared to allow Swann to get in the game but that is what will happen with Ashwin in India.

Darren Lehmann realised he had to change it and when England went to Australia that winter they picked more right-handers. Obviously the pitches were better for batting but they attacked Swann, hit him over mid-on and countered his threat. I want England to be proactive with selection, and that means bringing in another right-hander.

England lack a world-class spinner and that is going to be a problem. Gareth Batty did okay in the second innings but he is a basic off-spinner. It seems to me the seam bowlers will be more dangerous.

We might reach a stage where England pick four seamers and two spinners. They could also pack the batting by picking Buttler and dropping down to one specialist spinner with Root to bowl a few overs as well. Those are questions to ask this winter.

In these conditions the England spinners are expected to bowl teams out, which puts pressure on them. But I feel they always need a massive score on the board because they do not have the expertise, skill or mystery to defend low totals.

Yasir Shah and Ashwin would have bowled the opposition out quickly on that Chittagong pitch but our spinners are not to that level so I can understand why the pressure got to them.

We are now at the stage where England need to judge once and for all whether Adil Rashid is a Test spinner.

Can he bowl with proper attacking fields or is he going to continue with what I call one-day fields? That is having men on the rope, mid-on back, cow corner back, and a sweep man out on the point boundary.

I do not mind if a batsman gets in against him or he is bowling round the wicket to the right-handers. But what I do not like is when England take a wicket, a new batsman comes in and Rashid has a deep point.

If you are a high-class spin bowler at the top level you have to at least be able to bowl to a new batsman with an attacking field to put him under pressure. You cannot be saying to the captain ‘every now and then I am going to bowl a full toss or half-tracker so can I have a man out’.

You are basically fielding one man down. You always have one on the boundary at cow corner because you fear him bowling a high full toss. He has to be given the ball in situations where he has to bowl with more aggressive fields because you cannot have a career in Test cricket constantly having bad balls protected. It is a big few week for him.

Overall England will be in good heart when they leave for Dhaka with a win under their belts. They will be relieved too. It would have become a very long eight weeks if England had lost this Test with far harder challenges further down the line.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This