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England batting coach Thorpe thinks game not yet ‘in the bag’

England still have work to do in the second NatWest Test, according to batting coach Graham Thorpe

England have put themselves in a highly promising position at Headingley but are being warned from within that the second NatWest Test is not yet “in the bag”.

Batting coach Graham Thorpe was reassured by a one-for-all effort in which no one fell for single-figures and therefore made up collectively for the lack of an individual half-century in a stumps total of 302 for seven.

He admitted to a small measure of frustration that no batsman managed to go on to dominate on a rain-shortened second day which ended with England nonetheless 128 runs in front already.

“I’m pleased with the lead,” said Thorpe, after nightwatchman Dom Bess had top-scored with 49 and therefore missed out by the narrowest margin in his bid for back-to-back Test half-centuries.

“The game is not in the bag by any distance,” he added.

“But we have shown some fight, character and application – which has been pleasing after the first Test.”

England came in for much criticism after their nine-wicket trouncing at Lord’s put them in danger of a third successive series defeat.

“Naturally, players are going to get hurt if you put in a bad performance,” said Thorpe.

“But you also have to dust yourself – you can’t feel sorry for yourself for too long.

“I think the players have reflected and talked, probably had some hard words with themselves.

“But they’ve come here and they’ve applied themselves well in practice, and most importantly in the middle as well.

“Now we’ve got to push home the advantage.”

Captain Joe Root and record runscorer Alastair Cook were the other two batsmen to fall between 40 and 50.

England’s Joe Root hit 45 against Pakistan (Martin Rickett/PA)

Thorpe added: “Even today, there is a little edge of frustration.

“(Almost) all the batters got past 20, but no one has got past 50.

“I think it shows a little bit of what the pitch is like as well – hit the seam in the right areas, you can make things happen out there as well.”

England rose to the challenge efficiently rather than impressively.

Thorpe said: “It is nice to see a bit of application, starting with Dom Bess – who has come in as a youngster and shown some good character and fight.

“It was nice to see Jos (Buttler) there as well – he got out off the blocks pretty quick, then he got reined in, and you have to be able to adjust throughout a Test match.”

Bess impressed for England (Martin Rickett/PA)

As for 20-year-old Bess, in only his second Test, Thorpe added: “I think he’s enjoying that role.

“He settled in very naturally.

“It shows the work he’s put in, because probably 18 months ago his batting was not at this level.

“It’s nice to see these young guys get settled in the dressing-room – which I think is a credit to the senior players as well.”

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admits the tourists have got themselves into trouble by being bowled out for just 174 on day one.

“We are probably paying the price now for a sub-standard first-innings total,” he said.

“We didn’t get enough runs, that’s the key.

“You pay the price – if you win the toss and bat you need to score 300 plus to put pressure on the opposition.”


From Belfast Telegraph