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Jonathan Agnew column

England's Eoin Morgan is bowled
England lost their last seven wickets for just 28 runs in 15 overs

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent at The Oval

It is no bad thing England lost this Test. They have things to look at and analysis to perform, but they simply did not deserve to win.

I thought England's tactics were unfathomable at times, reverting back to a ploy I hoped they had got rid of by James Anderson bowling well wide of the stumps and swinging the ball away from the bat, which takes away the chance of a bowled or lbw - as we have said many times before.

Inevitably, he bowled some short balls and was cut and he was also worked off his pads because of the angle.

Trying to take a wicket like that is putting all your eggs in one basket and like trying to win a casino jackpot.

England's batsmen have to be able to spend longer periods in the middle and that is their main area of weakness at the moment.

This will be a factor they will have to sort out in Australia this winter, although their attack isn't up to much.

There were some good balls, and conditions in this series have not been conducive to swatting the ball around, so there are one or two mitigating circumstances, but we should not be playing four-day Test matches.

The batting of both teams has been so unpredictable and both sides have generally relied on one person in each innings to dig them out of trouble.

606: DEBATE
Sepenenre

Now we go to Lord's on Thursday which, traditionally, is the first or second match of a series. I can't remember it ever being the decider, and it will be interesting to see how the pitch is.

I think both teams will be unchanged, unless Umar Gul makes a remarkable recovery from his hamstring injury.

Had Alastair Cook failed again I think England would had to have made a change but now I think they will give the same team a chance to redeem themselves.

Pakistan will be very pleased with their win, particularly with everything that is happening back home with the terrible floods.

I was very impressed with the way they have knuckled down and proven people wrong. I don't think there was anyone who expected them to win here, certainly not in four days.

Mohammad Yousuf's position in the middle order has been very beneficial to them and given them much-needed stability, but the difference in Pakistan was that they supported their bowlers and fielded well.

Had they done that from the outset who knows where the series might have been.

It was a marvellous victory for Pakistan and also for Test cricket, which once again refuses to lie down and die, and proves it is the best game in the world.

You wouldn't get that in a Twenty20 match, the ebbs and flows, because there simply isn't time to do so.

It's a wonderful sport and we are so lucky in England that it's still well supported, although the England and Wales Cricket Board will have to consider the balance between the number of matches they are putting on and the amount of money they are going to make people pay to watch them.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Jamie Lillywhite.



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see also
Pakistan edge to win over England
21 Aug 10 |  England
Strauss wants batting improvement
21 Aug 10 |  England
Butt praises Pakistan character
21 Aug 10 |  Pakistan
England v Pakistan day four photos
21 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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