A wake-up call
Posted in England team blog
Losing at the Brit Insurance Oval has shown us a few areas where we need to improve ahead of the Lord's Test. Pakistan will be confident but we can bounce back, just like we did when we lost to Bangladesh at Bristol in a one-dayer earlier this summer.
We didn't score enough runs in either innings of the last Test. The ball did a fair bit on the first morning but we should have scored more than we did. We did well to restrict them to 300 on that wicket when they batted but it still gave them a lead.
In our second innings Cookie and I put on 116 and that was the time when we should have pushed on. Unfortunately we didn't put enough partnerships together and lost wickets in clumps. If we had built a 250-run lead then we would have been favourites.
We felt we had a chance of winning when we had them six down needing 20 runs to win. Swanny was bowling well but a couple of boundaries took the game away from us.
My 36 in the second innings took about three and a half hours. It was tough going and they bowled really well. Mohammad Asif was really accurate and Saeed Ajmal was hard to get away. You had to force the ball when you faced him as there wasn't a lot of pace on his deliveries.
I made a decision to dig in and hope batting would become easier. Cookie was going really well at the other end and it was important for me to support him. We didn't want to expose a new batsman.
Cookie scored a very good hundred. He timed it well and made it look really easy. It was a bizarre way to get to a century though with Asif throwing the ball over the wicketkeeper's head. We both had a good laugh about that.
I am batting OK at the moment. I got a couple of fifties at Edgbaston and I wish I had gone on and got a big score at the Oval.
The Pakistan attack is tricky to bat against as each bowler is different. Aamer and Asif are really skilful and can move the ball in the air and off the pitch. When you face bowlers like that it's important to go back to basics - you have to watch the ball carefully and not get carried away and think of fifties and hundreds.
Ajmal is a different proposition. He has taken wickets in the two Tests he has played but I felt I have played him quite well. Hopefully it'll be our turn to get on top of him.