England finally get a decent tune out of the their lower-order batsmen | Jonathan Liew

  • Thread starter Jonathan Liew at the Kia Oval
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Jonathan Liew at the Kia Oval

The art of batting down the order has always been a quick thrash or a jazzy cameo, something that had hitherto been lost under the stewardship of Chris Silverwood

Jimmy Anderson shuffles down the Oval steps with all the enthusiasm of a man boarding a rail replacement bus service to Norwich. Deep down he knows it is probably for the best, and yet the very act seems to inspire a bodily rebellion in him. These days there are few sadder sights in international cricket than watching Anderson walk out to bat, and in large part this is because you know what awaits him out in the middle.

Anderson has never been a good batter but for a long time he was at least a willing batter. He would stride out with a kind of soldierly purpose, all gallant defiance and stony concentration. But the Anderson who once went six years without a Test duck and cuffed his way to a riotous 81 against India at Trent Bridge is long gone, replaced by a sitting target whose primary objective is not to score runs but to avoid getting hurt. In the last year he averages a shade over four.

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