Pakistan v England: Andy Flower 'not afraid' to drop batsman

Flower challenges England batsmen to learn quickly

England coach Andy Flower says he is not afraid to drop a batsman for the third Pakistan Test after their latest abject showing against spin bowling.

England were bowled out for 72 as they lost the second Test and the series.

"There were some familiar mistakes and we need our batsmen to learn very quickly," Flower told BBC Sport.

"We must pick what we think is the best XI to win the game. If that means making the odd change here and there, then we won't be afraid to do that."

England enjoyed the better of the first three days in Abu Dhabi, before imploding on Saturday afternoon after being set a modest 145 to win the Test and square the series.

It was the third time in four innings this series that England have been bowled out for less than 200.

"It was a horrible day to watch and a horrible day to be involved in," said Flower. "We got ourselves into such a great position to win the Test so to be bowled out for 72 is devastating.

"Of course we went into that innings wanting to be as provocative and aggressive as possible, but we didn't deliver that at all. We didn't put them under any pressure and we allowed their bowlers to bowl at us. You can't escape that fact."

With 19 of their 20 wickets in the game falling to Pakistan's trio of spinners, Flower admitted England have a problem they need to solve ahead of the third Test in Dubai starting on Friday, and Test series in Sri Lanka and India later this year.

"With any issue you have in any facet of your life, the first step towards dealing with it is an accepting there is an issue and we can't get away from that fact," he said.

"We have another Test match here and then the one-dayers and a couple of Twenty20s. Then we have Test series against Sri Lanka and India before the year is up.

"These issues are not going to disappear. We have got to face them front on and we have got to face them with skill and a bit of courage.

"We've got to be a lot better than we were yesterday. Each individual needs to work very hard at working out his own method of scoring and putting the bowler under pressure.

"It's very important for us to go into this third Test match and do something about it. One of our jobs is to learn quickly.

"We have world-class batsmen in our side, but they need to adapt very quickly and we are going to get another opportunity in the third Test."

England must win the final Test to be certain of holding on to the number one spot in the Test rankings beyond 1 April.

If they lose or draw, South Africa will overtake them by beating New Zealand 3-0 in their series in March.

Should Flower make changes, Eoin Morgan is the obvious fall guy, with Ravi Bopara the only batting option in the squad.

Frontline batsmen Morgan, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell have not scored more than 32 in 16 innings between them this series.

"Continuity of selection has been a part of our strength but very obviously we have to pick players who are most adept at dealing with these conditions," said Flower.

"Selection is important and sometimes tricky part of our job and there will be some important decisions to make."

Graph of top five ranked nations as of December 2011
The battle for the number one spot is becoming increasingly hard fought