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England forced to consider how many, not whether, to make changes | Vic Marks

Chance to lift gloom after defeat in first Ashes Test is not helped by the lack of red-ball practice of possible replacements

We all make mistakes but most of us manage to do so without attracting too much attention. However, this luxury is not given to Test cricketers – even in the post free-to-air era. Moeen Ali is rediscovering this after his moon ball, his misguided leave and his wayward second-innings bowling at Edgbaston; so, too, is Jason Roy, who swung and missed so memorably when producing a poor imitation of Virender Sehwag at the crease. Playing international cricket is a great job; it is also a cruel one.

It is an easier game in the press box. In my eagerness to feel some empathy with a few of our Test players, let me admit to splitting an infinitive in 2001 and more recently, just before the start of the first Test against Australia in a typical bit of journalistic smart-arsery, there was this pontification: β€œIf England can get to 80 for two on a regular basis they will win the series.” Well, at Edgbaston England were 154 for one at the high point of their first innings and 80 for two in their second. They ended up being thrashed by 251 runs.

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