London, June 4 Though England defeated Ireland by ten wickets in the one-off Test at Lords, former batter Mark Butcher believes the hosts’ allowing the pair of Mark Adair and Andy McBrine to stitch a big partnership, is a concern and showed their lack of ‘cutting edge’ with the ball.
On day three, lower-order batters Adair and McBrine made 88 an 86 not out respectively in the second innings and hugely frustrated the hosts through a mammoth 163-run partnership as Ireland forced England to bat again.
England completed a small chase of 11 runs with Zak Crawley hitting three boundaries in four balls. But allowing Ireland’s pair of Adair and McBrine to get big runs has concerned Butcher, especially with a highly-anticipated Ashes starting from June 16 at Edgbaston.
“I wouldn’t say they (England) drifted. They just lacked a little bit of cutting edge. Until Josh Tongue got the ball back in his hand, and England went to a slightly more orthodox method of operating – going away from the short ball – there were one or two concerns. The main one being Jack Leach’s difficulties in bowling to left-handers,” Butcher told Sky Sports after the end of the one-off Test match.
He further pointed out that England’s fast bowlers were less effective too when Ireland’s lower-order fightback was happening on day three at Lord’s, where batting became easier under bright sunshine on a placid pitch.
“We think England’s preferred choice of bowling attack would be Anderson, Robinson, Wood, in terms of the three quicks. We still don’t know what (Ben) Stokes’ status is. I’m sure he will be absolutely fine, but if that isn’t the case, Stuart Broad today (on day three) looked a little bit on the tardy side, a little slow and lacking in penetration when the ball was a little bit older,” added Butcher.
The first Test of the Ashes gets under way at Edgbaston from June 16, as England look to regain the urn for the first time since 2015.
“England have asked for flat pitches in the Ashes, haven’t they? They’ve not asked for green seamers; they want to take Australia on at their own game, be able to go out there and compile big runs,” said Butcher.
“So, if there was one slight concern, it was that with tailenders in essentially they were made to look pretty ordinary for a long period of time during that afternoon session,” he added.
(This article is from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by The SportsGrail)