England batting coach Graham Thorpe tried to keep a lid on expectations ahead of Monday's game, but it must have been difficult. It sums up the aura around England's batting lineup that scoring 311-8 against South Africa in the World Cup opener at The Oval was regarded as slightly underwhelming.
Expect a bigger total if the English bat first against Pakistan at a ground where they have made a world-record total twice since the last World Cup — against Pakistan in 2016 and when hitting 481 against Australia last year.
"We didn't quite unlock the door in terms of our batting at The Oval," Thorpe said Saturday on a sunny afternoon at Trent Bridge, explaining that England wasn't able "to really let go because we kept losing wickets at crucial times."
"It's the same thing coming here against Pakistan: If we get into a good position, we'll try to score as many as we can," he said. "But at the same time if it doesn't happen, you've got to put a competitive score on the board to put the opposition under pressure."
Pakistan failed to do that in its opening game, only making 105 before being skittled in a barrage of short-pitched bowling from the West Indies. All 10 wickets feel to the quicks. That's 11 straight losses in completed ODIs for the Pakistanis, a run that included a 4-0 loss on a pre-World Cup series against England.
"They looked like they roughed Pakistan up as well," Thorpe said of the Windies. "It was interesting viewing." In light of Pakistan's struggles against the short ball, England might reassess its bowling lineup and play an extra paceman in Mark Wood on Monday, potentially alongside fellow fast bowler Jofra Archer.
"I think it will be discussed, to be honest," Thorpe said. "The games that we played against Pakistan are irrelevant in that series which has gone," Thorpe added. "We know them but we also know how close those games were, so whether it makes them more dangerous or not I think they're a dangerous side anyway."
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