Andy Flower will be prepared to change England’s losing team to arrest the world Test number one’s fall from grace in the Middle East.
The England coach has called on the tourists to show skill and courage and prove they can after all conquer the demons of spinning Asian pitches - starting by avoiding a series whitewash against Pakistan in Dubai next week. Flower has found himself delivering an all-too-familiar refrain so far this winter, picking over England defeats - against India in limited-overs cricket and now after losing the first two Tests against Pakistan to concede this three-match series.
There was more of the same today as he was called to account for the hapless batting which resulted in England’s lowest ever Test total against Pakistan, and another embarrassing early finish for the second successive match.
In difficult conditions, tailor-made for the talents of Pakistan’s spin bowlers, England’s hopes of making a relatively modest target of 145 to level the series foundered as they were all out for 72. A spectacular sequence of single-figure dismissals dominated the scorebook as England were undone in less than 40 overs, and two-and-a-half hours, when it had seemed they began with a better than even chance of victory.
“We expect to learn and learn quickly - and that is a big part of our job, of my job,” said Flower, who spoke of England’s bowling and first-innings competence but could only lament what followed.
“I thought in the first innings some of our batsmen did an excellent job.“Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook were outstanding in that partnership of 145. Stuart Broad was outstanding; he played an aggressive, courageous knock to give us the lead - that was a match-turning performance from him both with ball and bat. “But yes, there were familiar mistakes. We need our batsmen to learn - very obviously.”