I am irritable aboutEngland’s test series loss to India. Not because we lost, actually, but the manner of the series defeat. Set 500 to win the third test and square the series, it was quickly clear that England had no intention of trying to chase down the target. Fair enough, it was a hugely tough ask and very unlikely to succeed… but not to try?.
Atherton, among others, says there is a difference between losing 1-0 and 2-0. Sorry, but unless ‘goal’ difference is important, no there isn’t. England, apparently, have to learn not to lose. Yes, we do. But only in games where it matters even one jot. Losing this match while trying to win it would have been brave and shown the sort of aggression that we need if we are ever to frighten the Australians again.
I don’t buy the fact that India deserved to win 1-0. And I don’t buy why England didn’t put up a show and try to get the runs on the final day at the Oval. We have the players to do it. As a fan of cricket, I would much rather have seen us take on the total and give it a go. Losing in a blaze of glory is infinitely preferable to eking out a turgid and meaningless draw. One thing we have seen is that when under pressure, the Indian bowlers are apt to lose it. But if you invite pressure on, they are capable of exploiting you.
The fact is, we didn’t try so we’ll never know. What we do know is that England settled for a 1-0 series defeat and announced themselves happy to have forced a draw in the final test. Is it just me or is that a loser mentality? Can you ever imagine the Aussies settling for defeat in that way? I can’t. Think about it. It’s like being 1-0 down at half time in a cup game, going on to lose 1-0 and then being pleased you drew the second half 0-0. Makes no sense. You still lost. Where is the pride and accomplishment in that?