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England vs India: Ian Botham highlights the home team’s opening troubles

Jennings and Cook have been widely criticised for their inconsistency.

Ian Botham
Ian Botham. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

It’s just the role reversal after the end of the third Test match at Trent Bridge. Just like India were at the receiving end after their twin losses at Edgbaston and Lord’s, it is England’s turn now to face the flak after their humiliating 203-run loss in the third game. The hosts produced a poor batting display in the game and never really looked to be in it and that is something which has not impressed former England greats like Sir Ian Botham.

England were shot out in one session on the second day of the Test, losing all wickets in a heap after the openers gave them a good start. A gritty hundred from Jos Buttler and a half-century from Ben Stokes and a 30-odd innings from Adil Rashid delayed the inevitable. Hardik Pandya took a five-wicket haul in the first innings while the feat was replicated by Jasprit Bumrah in the second.

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Botham has a strong take on England’s opening partnership

Sir Botham took a dig at England’s opening woes. Although India came under strong criticism for changing the pair as many times in three matches, the home team has not done any better even with a fixed combination. Till the end of the third Test, the English opening pair of Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings could put up only one 50-plus partnership in five innings while for India, the number of 50-plus opening score was two (in six innings).

The legendary English all-rounder came up with a strong opinion on England’s opening partnership. “The problem you have is there are two left-handers at the top of the order and Ishant Sharma loves bowling at left-handers! It’s a shame there isn’t a right-left-hand combination to make it a bit more difficult for him to get his sights set,” he told Sky Sports.

Ishant Sharma dismissed them thrice in two innings of the match at Trent Bridge, claiming Cook’s wicket twice. England’s highest run-scorer had fallen to Sharma at Lord’s as well while in the first Test in Birmingham, Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed them thrice, having got Cook twice.

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