Nasser Hussain feels that England’s inability to post a good enough first innings total should be identified as the real reason for their defeat in the Southampton Test, rather than the decisions taken by skipper Ben Stokes before the game.
Stokes’s decision to bat first at the Ageas Bowl and leave out Stuart Broad turned out to be debate-inducing calls, but Hussain said that it should not distract England from their addressing their ongoing problem of putting up a good total in the first innings
“Let’s not get lost with the Broad issue or the toss issue. England having batted first were bowled out for 204 – that is still their nemesis,” Hussain wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“They did well in South Africa, but in England, against the Dukes ball, they often find themselves 20-3, 30-3, and without [Joe] Root in the side this week, that was a nightmare. That is still the issue for England.”
Batting first, England have managed to post a 400+ total only once in the last 10 Tests at home, a problem that returned to hound them in their first Test of the summer, where they were shot out for 204. Stand-in skipper Ben Stokes defended his decision to bat first, saying that he backed his team to post a competitive first innings total despite the overcast conditions on days one and two.
Hussain said that the team should take a leaf out of their impressive showing in South Africa earlier this year, and would do well with Joe Root’s inclusion for the Manchester game.
“They are going to a good surface at Old Trafford. Root is back and they have to bat like they did in South Africa this winter and at points in New Zealand. Not by being 204 all out.”
“Sometimes as a captain, you have to say ‘I back my side to get 300 on this’ but England fluffed their lines again with the bat after winning the toss.”