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England vs West Indies 2017: Five areas where the hosts must work on

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694   //    31 Aug 2017, 17:28 IST

England v West Indies - 2nd Investec Test: Day Three
Lack of consistency by the openers is hurting England

England has stooped to another low courtesy of their sensational and historic Test defeat against West Indies at Headingley. Although the Test was dragged for five days, it was evident that on most parts, the visitors had an upper hand while the hosts were outplayed convincingly.

This loss has once again brought to limelight the gaping holes existing in England's team. The lack of young talent and rusty performances from the experienced ones has cost the team dearly. England somehow managed to keep the under-confident and under-skilled South Africans at the bay, but as West Indies have shown, England may struggle heavily in the upcoming Ashes.

Introspection has become the need of the hour for England cricket and to overcome the pain of this humiliating defeat, they must eliminate their weaknesses. Here are five areas that are proving to be the Achilles heel for the team.

#5 Solve the openers' debacle

Andrew Stauss' shoes seem to be too big to fill for English cricket. Since his retirement in 2012, 13 players have opened the innings for England along with Alastair Cook but nobody has played more than 12 Tests.

Mark Stoneman's half-century in the second Test must have ignited hope in the English camp as, during his knock of 52, he looked confident, fluent and most importantly set for a long inning.

However, his scores in three innings so far are 8, 19, and 52. This half-century may look promising but it hasn't solved the problem. England need is consistency at the top of the order - something which has become an extremely rare trait.

Cook scored a crisp 243 runs in the first Test, but that century came after 16 innings. Although still solid, the left-handed opener is now looking exhausted and on several occasions was rusty.

Hence, England must find a consistent and strong opening partner for Cook who will keep things tidy at the top of the order. Haseeb Hameed, Alex Hales and Keaton Jennings have had their opportunities but their failures have increased the dark clouds over England cricket. 

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