England v India: Jonathan Agnew on hosts' Trent Bridge batting collapse

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India in complete control as England collapse on day two

Familiar frailties reappeared for England on a woeful second day of the third Test against India at Trent Bridge.

When England are in charge of a game, setting the tempo in benign conditions, they are a good side. They have some lovely strokeplayers.

However, when the ball is moving even a small amount and the situation requires a defensive outlook, they are incapable of changing their mindset.

On Sunday in Nottingham, the conditions offered just enough to the India bowlers. The ball did not hoop around corners, yet England were shot out for 161. With India moving to 124-2, a lead of 292, they are close to being out of sight.

As an old swing bowler, I used to love it if batsmen tried to attack me when I knew that conditions were in my favour. It gave me more chance of getting them out.

The frustration came if they left the ball well, if they caused me to change my line and started picking runs off the pads.

As a batsman, you have to think that you can't smack a bowler about in conditions that are offering movement. If a team tries to do that, they will lose more games than they will win.

What irks me is that England seem to believe the only way to get out of a potentially difficulty situation is to attack. That is simply not the case.

Special players, someone like Ian Botham, can do it, but to be a fully rounded Test batsman, you also have to possess the ability to change your game in order to suit the situation. You can't keep saying "that's the way I play".

People sometimes make fun of batsmen who have a reputation for grinding it out, but Test cricket is a five-day game. There are times when you have to dig in.

Sunday afternoon at Trent Bridge was one of those occasions, but England's defensive game was not good enough.

It is right to wonder why England's batsmen struggled in English conditions, especially as the majority of their cricketing education is served against a moving ball.

It is difficult to conclude why problems have arisen, but part of it has come down to the mental approach to the game.

At the moment, I believe England are getting that wrong and their record proves the point. In their past 61 Test innings, they have lost their fourth wicket having scored 100 runs or fewer on 30 occasions.

In that sense, we are not learning anything new about this England team, even if they came into this match on the back of three successive wins.

England Test batting averages in 2018 (min four Tests)
MatchesInningsRunsAverage
Woakes4521954.75
Root81352944.08
Buttler5722537.50
Bairstow81346035.38
Jennings4511022.00
Stokes5918720.77
Cook81325219.38

We knew that they had an incredibly dangerous attack when the ball moves around and they have shown it again, especially when they routed India at Lord's.

But we also knew that there were questions over the batting and, at the moment, they are not being answered.

Keaton Jennings is getting his second go at filling the opener's role England have struggled with for almost six years, but his technique concerns me.

He is firm footed, moving his feet almost after he has played his stroke. The left-hander always looks a candidate to be caught in the slip cordon and must get a bigger stride towards the ball.

Could England consider more changes? They have been through so many top-order batsmen over the past few years. I would only want to see more tinkering if we are sure the players who come in are going to be better than what is there at the moment.

The reality is England can learn from the way India have forced themselves to improve.

The tourists were woeful at Lord's, but have tried to play much straighter at Trent Bridge. They have presented a fuller face of the bat, rather than getting into trouble with drives or wristy flicks.

They have shown spirit. They sensed an opportunity to get back into the series and they seized it. During the afternoon session on Sunday, they bustled in, bowled with pace on a full length and took their catches.

Now, they look certain to peg England back to 2-1. Southampton and The Oval come next, both grounds where India's spinners could come to the fore. There is life in this contest.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt