England must eradicate the “little disease” in the dressing room if they are to avoid the collapses that cost them in the second Test defeat by India, says ex-captain Michael Vaughan.
They slipped to 80-5 while conceding a crucial first-innings deficit of 200 in Visakhapatnam, and lost their last eight wickets for 66 runs on the final day as India won by 246 runs.
“When they lose one wicket, a panic sets in. They can’t stop it. It is a common trend,” Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special.
“Somewhere the mentality has to change and someone has to do something about it.”
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‘They go down like a pack of cards’
England narrowly failed to force victory in the first Test of the five-match series in Rajkot after posting 537 and 260-3 declared.
However, the drawn Test series in Bangladesh that preceded the India tour was marked by batting collapses.
They were 21-3 and 62-5 in the first and second innings respectively in Chittagong, then slumped to 69-5 in the first innings in Dhaka, where they subsided from 100-0 to 164 all out in the second innings as Bangladesh claimed a maiden Test win over England.
“They have a habit of collapsing,” said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on TMS. “They go down like a pack of cards, like dominoes.
“This pitch is not a minefield. As soon as a wicket went, they’re fraught.”
Captain Alastair Cook said England’s first-innings collapse in Visakhapatnam, when five wickets fell on the second evening, proved crucial.
“In India you’ve got to score first-innings runs. You can’t afford to lose a session,” he said.
“If you get behind the game in India, it’s very difficult to get back.”
‘We’ll hold our heads high’
India wrapped up victory – their second biggest over England in terms of runs – by bowling the tourists out for 158 shortly after lunch on the final day.
The 97.3 overs England faced was their third longest fourth innings in a Test in India.
Cook, who shared a 75-run opening stand in 50 overs with teenager Haseeb Hameed on Sunday, said: “We’ll hold our heads up high.
“We set our stall out in the fourth innings and we made India work very hard.”
However, India captain Virat Kohli, named man of the match after making 167 and 81, said: “Scoring runs in between puts some pressure on the bowlers.
“It is a basic thing. If you don’t have that intent in the fourth innings, it is tough to play out four and a half sessions.”
Should Duckett be dropped?
Ben Duckett made five and nought in Visakhapatnam – dismissed twice by off-spinner Ravinchandran Ashwin – and has failed to pass 15 in six of his seven Test innings since making his debut in Bangladesh.
He could make way for wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who has played only one first-class match in 13 months, for the third Test in Mohali which starts on Saturday.
“I’m more than comfortable with Jos playing as a batter,” England coach Trevor Bayliss told Sky Sports.
“Young Duckett is a young batter with a lot of potential. He’s just going through a bit of a period at the moment where he’s not scoring any runs.”
Cook told TMS: “There’s a lot of talk about his technique about defending spin and he’s aware of that.
“It’s another hurdle that an international player, under the scrutiny, you have got to handle. We have to give him all the support we can.”
Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests, said: “The only option is Jos Buttler.
“Duckett looks shot facing Ashwin – he looked like a rabbit in the headlights. He needs a little breather to work out that technique against the spinners.”
Boycott added: “His head has gone. When you are under severe stress like he is, he’s trying to force it. I would give him a break from Test cricket.”
Former England batsman Mark Butcher told BBC 5 live Sport: “The problem he is having is clear for all to see.
“He’ll be trying to do something about it but unfortunately [Ravichandran] Ashwin has got his number.
“You just want to crawl in a hole when that happens to you.
“When it happens at the very beginning of your career – before you have bought yourself some credit in the eyes of your team-mates or in the eyes of the public – it becomes very difficult and is almost suffocating at times.”
‘England need Broad in Mohali’
England seamer Stuart Broad injured his wrist and foot during the second Test, although he took 4-33 to help bowl India out for 204 in the second innings.
“Credit to Broad – it’s a lot sorer than he has told everyone,” said Cook. “To bowl as well as he did is huge credit to his resilience and toughness.
“The specialist has had a look at the scans – it doesn’t sound great. We’ll see how the foot settles over the next 24 hours.”
Vaughan said Broad should play in Mohali as part of a four-man seam attack, with Chris Woakes – rested in Visakhapatnam – replacing slow left-armer Zafar Ansari, who was ill and suffered a back spasm.
“They’re one down in the series and they need all their experience and expertise,” said Vaughan.
“Whatever he took in the second innings, he takes the same tablet and he gets out there in Mohali.”