Botham 'very disappointed with England's bowlers'

England

England's fast bowlers were the subject of substantial criticism from former captain Ian Botham, as India pursued victory on day five of the second Test at Lord's in London on Monday.

England's fast bowlers were the subject of substantial criticism from former captain Ian Botham, as India pursued victory on day five of the second Test at Lord's in London on Monday.

Sunday saw the tourists, who are chasing a tough 319-run target, slip to 105 for four. Openers Sam Robson, Alastair Cook, the left-handed Gary Ballance and the right-handed Ian Bell perished, while middle-order duo Moeen Ali and Joe Root remain unbeaten.

Quickfire half-centuries from all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had earlier propelled the Indians to a formidable second-innings tally of 342 all out. The pair were particularly fruitful against the second new ball, which seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson insisted on bowling short.

"Old habits die hard, but I have been very disappointed with England's bowlers at Lord's. You would think they had learned their lesson from the first innings, when they gave India's batsmen far too much width, but obviously not," Botham wrote in the <i>Mirror</i>.

"They had a golden opportunity to make all the running on one of the best Test pitches I've ever seen at Lord's – it's had something for everyone. Who would have thought that England's quick bowlers would be out-bowled by India's seamers?"

"And second time around, to let India's lower middle order plunder 117 runs from 18 overs against the second new ball was not good enough. England let India score 100 more runs in each innings than they should have been able to make."

Right-armers Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett, however, enjoyed praise from Botham. Stokes and Plunkett snared three wickets each in the second innings. Spinner Moeen Ali, too, captured a key brace.

"Stokes may be the most inexperienced of England's four seam bowlers at this level, but overall he has bowled the best lengths of the lot here at Lord's," added Botham.

"Plunkett performed well in the second innings, but I can't understand why Anderson bowled in the areas he did – perhaps he was trying too hard to make a point."

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