Bopara must get England recall as Pakistan whitewash looms
Serious changes to England’s batting line up are required for the third and final Test with Pakistan, even though the series is now over.
England somehow threw away the second Test having needed just 145 to level the series from the final innings of the match.
Instead, England’s failure to play spin was on display again as they failed to chase down a total of less than 150 in a final innings for just the second time since 1902.
Embarrassingly, the end result was that England were all out for 72, meaning that Pakistan have an unassailable 2-0 series lead heading into the final clash in Dubai.
England have previously had their issues with both Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne and their inability to face world class spin bowlers has been evident again against Pakistan.
Kevin Pietersen’s technique remains questionable against spin of the left-hand variety, with Abdur Rehman the latest to have his number.
Meanwhile, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan have also come up short in the middle order and it would be a major surprise if the latter was picked again in the Test arena any time soon.
Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior did show signs of getting on top of the bowling, but the fact that no player has managed a century yet this series is disappointing for a team ranked number one in the world in the Test environment.
Ravi Bopara almost has to be given another chance to prove his credentials in the final Test as the other batsmen in the squad, but he is naturally cautiously minded and it may take a more aggressive approach to give the Pakistan bowlers something to think about.
Pietersen is one player who could change the thought process, especially if batting in a similar style to when bursting onto the international scene in the Ashes against Australia in 2005, when smashing Warne all over the park.
But even if Bopara is called up and Pietersen adopts a different approach, it is hard to justify how England and Pakistan are both 7/4 in the cricket odds to win the third Test.
Pakistan look by far the stand-out option at the prices, especially given the ease in which they won the first Test of the series in Dubai.