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This may have been a blessing in disguise for England. A very good disguise.

A bit like Manchester City, we are a team that has a damagingly disparate complexion and no clear identity or philosophy at the moment. No-one is sure about the selection policy or the leadership, and no-one is certain that we will win against any opposition. This makes it hard to establish any real belief in what we are doing.

If we had lost the first test against the Windies in mediocre fashion – by fifty runs or so – then the usual, tedious explantations and solutions would have been trotted out. As it is, it can be written off as a freakish anomaly, too unlikely to take seriously. It is, at the very least, a refreshing way to lose. It was further buried out of sight in the sandpit farce, and now we are building a healthy lead on the fourth day of the ‘third’ test in the sunshine. If only we could deal with all our losses like this!

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