Willis all but laughs at 'Monty Python' England

England

Former fast bowler Bob Willis has likened England's failing batting order to British comedy group Monty Python, after Sri Lanka dominated day four of the second and final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Monday.

Former fast bowler Bob Willis has likened England's failing batting order to British comedy group Monty Python, after Sri Lanka dominated day four of the second and final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Monday.

The hosts slumped to a poor 57 for five in pursuit of a staunch 350-run target, with Alastair Cook falling for just 17, the left-handed Gary Ballance suffering a first-ball duck, opener Sam Robson dismissed for a stifled 24 – and the experienced Ian Bell out for only eight.

"The Python boys are regrouping later this month but I think the England batting line-up stole their thunder. It was just schoolboy errors," <i>Sky Sports</i> quoted Willis as saying.

This series is England's first under new coach Peter Moores and managing director Paul Downton, after Zimbabwean Andy Flower and several other members of the coaching staff were removed in the wake of a five-nil whitewash at the hands of Australia earlier this year.

Batsman Alastair Cook, meanwhile, has retained the captaincy despite a slew of poor results – and obvious struggles at the top of the order. Cook has gone 24 consecutive Test match innings without a century.

"The brave new world of Downton, Cook and Moores has started with a train crash. Downton, having pinned his colours to the mast, in the shape of Moores the new coach and Cook continuing in the captaincy after the Ashes debacle, will be very reluctant to make any changes at the top but that will be Cook's decision at the end of the road," added Willis.

"I don't think he will throw the towel in. It was only six weeks ago that he was being unveiled with Peter as a great new fresh start for England. I don't think it's in his character to throw the towel in."

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