The highlighted text I completely disagree with and judge it to be so wide of the mark as to deserve an explanation. However having already given my view on it several times before I will not do so againhancockjr wrote:This has nothing to do with the toss, etc. Post the "amazingly difficult early conditions" Windies have scored 300 and we're about to score 140. The Windies weren't so far ahead it is a false score or anything like that, where "giving up" is an acceptable option; we're just a lot worse, or playing a lot worse, or both.
The lack of faith shown in the batsmen in Sri Lanka, coupled with the false sense of achievement of beating an utterly dreadful side, is coming home to roost and England are being shown what their true level is - desperately average, if that.
I get that some people like to support England but in reality they are dreadful at the moment, inexcusably bad given the resources at their disposal, and paying the price for some very short term selection decisions.
I really can't comment in detail on today as I didn't see too much of it with going to the match and watching rugby union which, with cricket, has always been my favourite sport. However, from all reports it really was dreadful, a truly feeble effort and predictable collapse.
There are no excuses or reasons that can come anywhere near adequately explaining why a side collapses in such a fashion, and absolutely it just isn't good enough.
However you really can't put aside what has gone on previously in the first two days and say it had no influence whatsoever on today's pathetic performance. That the tosses weren't important, that the tone hadn't been set in those two days and the match all but won already.
Just like the first test the match WAS to all intents and purposes decided within the first two days, not today, but before today. It is not beyond possibility that a side could have rescued the situation today but highly unlikely, overnight facing a likely deficit of well over a hundred in what was always likely to be a relatively low scoring match, was to all intents and purposes fairly hopeless, it was already over, and the match already gone. Yes there should be guts and fight shown, application and determination but it's highly unlikely any dominant side would relinquish such dominance anyway.
Don't get me wrong none of this excuses or mitigates against poor cricket with no real application or effort shown, it doesn't, but the psychology of teams' does get affected if one team is right on top, confident and buoyant, while the other is desperately trying to mount a fairly unlikely rescue, it's human nature and it takes supreme talent AND a really strong character to fight back against such pressure and odds, both in the physical and mental sense.
It's far easier batting second after the opposition has failed badly or even miserably, whatever the circumstances why, than it is to face a daunting first innings deficit when you start batting second time around. It's extremely rare in any test match for one side to gain such a supremely dominant winning position and still be overcome. Sides' heads do drop and winning sides are confident and think and play at the top of their game when their confidence is so high.
It's important to recognise how this came about, how the tone had been set and how one team had come to be in so dominant a position and one team so far behind the eight ball. The first two days were crucial in bringing this state of affairs about and the toss was absolutely decisive in it too. Both captains would have bowled for a reason, and that is precisely because it would confer such a dominant advantage.
Although at no time thereafter was it was ever easy for batting on, the wicket in that morning session of day one was seriously substandard, it really was, not every ball but enough to make batting on it a complete lottery. It did improve as day one went on and day two was much better as apparently was today.
The conditions of the wicket in that morning session were never repeated, the wicket eased up and although never easy was never anything like so bad again.
So of course today there is no excuse, but I've tried to give context to how the match had developed. It's getting in that supreme position of dominance that is so vital, and it's those initial events that deflates the other side's spirit, confidence and morale so that the match takes the course that it does, and the largely predictable events of one team dominating the other follow thereafter.
In the case of these last two tests, they have been very much result wickets, the tests have moved on at a pace, and everything virtually decided by the end of day two. In other tests this process does take far longer and day three, four and five can all be closely contested, however in these two tests the first two days have done so.
The toss in the first test did have a major effect but the one in this test was a lot more decisive. The effort and application put in following the first two days in both tests was nothing short of pathetic, even if events were largely irrelevant to the eventual likely outcome imo, make no mistake both tests had been decided by the end of day two.