London, Aug 23: Former England fast bowler Bob Willis has said the current side’s fantastic run in Test cricket was possible because of the solid performance of the top order batsmen.
Andrew Strauss’s men whitewashed India 4-0 in the Test series that got over Monday and became the No.1 Test team in the process.
The top order England batsmen Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell have scored prolifically throughout the summer.
‘There is a lot of strength in every department but I think those three at the top of the order, Strauss, Cook and Trott, are really, really solid,’ Willis was quoted as saying in Sky Sports News.
‘They usually get England off to a good start.
‘Cook is now back where he left off in Australia; he has this incredible ability to concentrate for long periods, he doesn’t get fazed by anything and that leaves the stage clear for the likes of Pietersen and Bell to come in and increase the run rate.
‘It’s the perfect formula for the long form of the game. England have now won five of their last 10 Test matches by an innings, three of those against Australia and two against India.’
He said it is a marvellous performance with the top six or seven batsmen piling up the runs.
Willis believes that the transformation of Bell, who was dropped from the side before fighting his way back, sums up the improvement England have made under coach Andy Flower.
Bell struck two centuries, including a double, in four matches and totalled 504 runs at an average of 84 in the series.
‘One of the first things that Strauss and Flower did with Bell was drop him,’ said Willis.
‘He’s been a completely different character, far more mature and he looks England’s most gifted and mature batsmen.’