Two Tests, too close for England cricket

England Cricket Crest

England's lack of focus is a little short-sighted.

As England make a good start to the Third and final Test at Sharjah, it's time to reflect  on the missed opportunities that have dogged England's impressive displays in the UAE. No-one has beaten Pakistan in the Middle East so being 1-0 down after two Tests is no shame, but it could easily have been so much better for England.

To find success in such an inhospitable climate England can't afford lapses of any kind and England made two in the First Test. Bell had been in poor form in the slips over the last year, so his continued inclusion in the catching cordon was both surprising and disappointing. His dropped catches in the Pakistan 1st innings gave the home team around  100 more runs than their batting deserved.

Secondly, England batted too slowly towards the end of their innings, when only they could possibly win the Test. With hindsight, they only needed to declare 4 or 5 overs earlier to have given themselves enough time to win the Test. This may seem harsh, but every session needs a positive application to ensure victory on pitches like this. It is this lack of focus or killer instinct that keeps England from the top spot in Test cricket.

In the Second Test, it was an altogether different loss of focus that lost the day. Losing their last 7 wickets for 36 runs on what was at that stage a relatively benign pitch meant that the the excellent 2nd innings rearguard action was in vain. Again just another 20 runs over 6 or 7 overs would have made all the difference. Fine margins indeed.

England have made a great start to the final Test in Sharjah but they will need to apply themselves to every session of every day if they are to square the series.