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Insights from the UK and beyond

from Left field:

Ill discipline costs England again

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flintoffHeard the one about the English batsmen who just couldn't resist nibbling at balls way outside off stump? It is an all too common occurrence and is the main reason why England fell short of a good first innings total in the deciding Ashes test.

Of course, flashing away outside the off-stump isn't just a disease to afflict English batsmen, although the problem does appear to be more acute on these shores than any where else.

It's an epidemic that has spread with the invention and subsequent proliferation of one-day cricket, which encourages the batsman's need to dominate and unsettle the opposition's bowlers.

The difference in test cricket is that the bowler is not required by the laws to bowl such a tight line around the stumps and therefore has more weapons in his armoury.

from Left field:

Should England bring back Ramprakash for Ashes decider?

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rampsEngland will be under huge pressure to make changes for the deciding Ashes test at the Oval and the middle order is the obvious place to start, with Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood contributing just 16 runs in six innings at Headingley.

So what should England do about it?

Possible replacements include Jonathan Trott, who was called into the squad at Headingley, Robert Key of Kent and even 39-year-old Mark Ramprakash as a one-off experiment.

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