MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Joe Root of Yorkshire walks back the pavilion after getting out by Jordan Clarke of Lancashire during the Specsavers Championship Division One match between Lancashire and Yorkshire at Old Trafford on July 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Specsavers County Championship: How Have England’s Batsmen Fared?

England’s inconsistent batting unit has heavily hindered their progress in Test match cricket. Over the past few years they have been prone to horrendous collapses, such as the one they experienced in New Zealand earlier this year. With a crucial Test series against India just weeks away, England’s batting unit is under even more pressure. However, England’ batsmen struggled in the most recent round of County Championship cricket. While the bowlers were prolific as usual, the batting was not up to the same standard and typically inconsistent.

The “Roses” match contained a large number of England international players. With Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Keaton Jennings on display, the crowd would no doubt have expected some big runs. However, all four of these England Test players were remarkably hit and miss. England captain Root impressed more with the ball than with the bat, as he took 4-5 in Lancashire’s second innings to win the match for Yorkshire. This covered up his mediocre performance with the bat, as he only managed 22 and 3 in his two innings.

Bairstow and Buttler had similar experiences, both failing in the first innings, but bouncing back emphatically in the second. After being dismissed for a golden duck in the first innings, Bairstow made a counter-attacking 82 in the second innings to swing the game into Yorkshire’s favour. Buttler also failed in the first innings, scoring just 3, but dug deep in the fourth innings of the match with a resilient half-century.
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Keaton Jennings made starts and did not convert, taking a leaf out of Root’s book. There is lots of pressure on Jennings to perform, as it is likely that he may be selected ahead of Mark Stoneman for the number two spot for the First Test against India. Scores of 22 and 30 were promising, but Jennings could not kick on and convert. This does not bode well.

Meanwhile, in Division Two, England’s Dawid Malan struggled against Warwickshire. He was caught behind on just 6 in the first innings and only made it to 28 in the second innings, before he was bowled by Hannon-Dalby.

India, the number one ranked Test team in the world, will pose a serious threat to England even in overseas conditions. India’s seam attack is one of their best in recent years and could seriously trouble England’s batsmen. With England’s batsmen coming into the series off the back of some mediocre County Championship form, the pressure on them will be greater than ever.

Rory Burns Knocking On The Door

One player who has been consistently delivering all season is Surrey’s Rory Burns. The Surrey captain and opening batsman hit 153 against a Nottinghamshire bowling attack that contained Stuart Broad and Jake Ball. His last three matches for Surrey, before the break for the Vitality Blast, were equally prolific. Burns hit 59 and 97 against Yorkshire, 66 against Somerset and 151 against Hampshire.

There have already been calls for him to slot into the England side. Burns opens for Surrey and could be a viable option to partner Alastair Cook for England.

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