England’s harrowing defeats since 2014:Nightmares at Lord’s


It is not often that England are tamed in their backyard, but when that happens, the tales turn out to be very fascinating. India’s win at Lord’s in 2014 was historic, and Australia’s win at the same venue in 2015 Ashes provided the much-needed shot in the arm — albeit they squandered it. Now, in 2016, Pakistan have once again proved that Lord’s is not the venue England should be considering among their strongholds. With a fine victory constituted on the theme of an Army platoon’s planning, movement and triumph over their enemy, Pakistani cricket team has exposed England in a manner not many have been able to. At the home of cricket. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Pakistan 2016, 1st Test match at Lord’sIndeed, India and Australia banked on certain factors in the contests; they did not dominate England right from the beginning like Pakistan. What if Ishant Sharma had not budged to MS Dhoni’s repeated pleas on bouncing England out? What if Steven Smith had not got a flat deck to pile up a record double hundred last year? These two games would have been a lot different had these incidences not taken place.But then, England are supposed to be the best Test team in the world. Do they not hold rubbers against every Test nation? Have they not won in India and South Africa the last time they travelled? They play more Tests than any team every year. Their batting is terrific, seam bowling matchless. They have a captain who does not play anything but Test cricket. He has all the time in the world to keep plan A, B, C and as many he would like, ready, for home summers.Are England not supposed to be the best Test team in the world? Of course they ought to be. But then, every team has bad days along the way.Right. Having one bad game is fine but three on the trot in three consecutive years highlights the fact that the ‘home of cricket’ is far away from being England’s ‘home’. Like Asian teams do not know how to win in England, the hosts just do not know how to win at Lord’s. ALSO READ: Cricket, welcome Pakistan back: it is timeAgainst India in 2014, England prepared a pitch so green that it looked like the match took place right at the center of a lush green field. England were left humiliated by Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant.Against Australia, England risked dishing out a flat deck and the monster in Smith roared with a double hundred. England did win the Ashes 2015 — riding on Australia’s incompetency — but at Lord’s they looked clueless, unprepared and most importantly, lacking gumption.Lord’s wicket in 2015 did not simply run out of runs when England came on to bat; they just did not have enough in them to make 500 and match Australia.Before that Test, England had trumped New Zealand in the series that preceded Ashes 2015. If that win is any encouragement, it must be noticed that a timid Sri Lanka fought for a draw this year.England came into this contest against Pakistan post a series win against Sri Lanka. Did they think it will be as easy? Did England underestimate Pakistan? Why was James Anderson allowed in some other game when England could have put Pakistan under the pump right at the onset? What are they trying to achieve with Gary Ballance? When will they find a stable opening partner for Alastair Cook? These questions popped up sometime on the fourth day of the first Test.England do not leak boundaries, but at Lord’s, there were aplenty on Day One itself. England catch everything that comes their way, but not in this Test.Meticulous elsewhere, clueless at Lord’s — the England story in the last three years.

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