Simon Hughes: Swing of Anderson and Broad was missed
England performed well, but needed a touch more ingenuity and aggression
It was good to see Graham Onions back in an England shirt. He is a very reliable bowler and has made an incredible comeback from a terrible back injury that cost him the whole of the 2010 season.
He was as consistent as ever for England. He bowled straight and tried to get his wickets with lbws. All Finn's victims came from this ability to bowl wicket to wicket. He has a bit of tenacity, which is really impressive. In many ways, he’s an old-fashioned bowler who does nothing dramatic, and is very consistent metronomic with his lines and lengths.
Finn had a few problems when he was knocking his knee into the stumps repeatedly. That is disruptive and can put you off your bowling. I think he was trying to get too close to the stumps for his own good and it slightly took the edge of his performance.
Finn is maturing into a very good bowler, but he was not quite at his best. He bowled some loose balls and his speeds were slightly down, although I suspect that the TV radar has been re-calibrated and everyone’s speeds may have dropped.
All the seam bowlers performed well and it’s great that England have three reliable bowlers to back up Anderson and Broad.
However, they were a bit too much on the defensive at times and all three seamers missed a trick by not going round the wicket to the lefthanders. That was an extraordinary error as it’s so often the case that lefthanders struggle with that angle of attack.
Although they showed lots of persistence, they also revealed how much England do rely on Anderson and Broad to nail the initiative home. They are able to swing the ball, which was lacking in their absence. England relied heavily on movement of the pitch and on building up pressure, but they needed more swing because the Edgbaston pitch was quite flat.
This is not a criticism of Finn, Onions and Bresnan, but a recognition of how outstanding Broad and Anderson are.
I do think, however, that the England seamers should accept a share of the responsibility for what were at times overly defensive fields. Bowlers do set their own fields in conjunction with the captain.
Why did England need an extra cover to the batsmen at 6, 7, and 8? If I was bowling in that situation against average batsmen, I’d have had three slips. England like the tactic of stifling the batsmen, but they needed to show a little more aggression and ingenuity at times.