England were horribly thrashed by Australia in the first test - and at England's 'fortress' of the Edgbaston ground in Birmingham. But - in a way - I was glad, because the selection of the England team was so horrible, that they did not deserve anything else.
England's Test selection in the 1990s was horrible, in the sense of choosing dozens of players, many debutants; often playing them just once, and without any idea whether they would have gone on to become good. (Not many players thrive at the highest level without undergoing a period of acclimatisation and learning.) And, naturally, poor results eventuated from poor selection.
Over the past few years, we have gone to a ridiculous opposite extreme, when players who have been performing terribly for more than a year still don't get replaced; while, by contrast, others who have played very well are dropped. When batters are played as bowlers and vice versa, when 'all rounders' are defined as those who are all-round inadequate at the basic disciplines of batting, bowling and wicket-keeping (especially the last). Meanwhile, the results have dropped back to the level of the 1990s; in particular (cushioned somewhat by the presence of one of the all time greatest bowlers: James Anderson.)
The explanation is that the Test team (and its coach and selectors) has become a gang; and players who fit-into the gang are retained no matter how badly they play for long periods; while those who (apparently) don't fit-in are ejected at the first excuse, or no excuse at all, to make way for the gang members to return.
The blame lies with the coach, selectors and captain; and I don't see much hope until these are replaced. After every further, routine, truly appalling, batting collapse - the reprise is always on the lines of: "We won't panic; there will be no knee-jerk reactions" - which decodes as "We will continue to select 'the gang', and to exclude the capable."
Consequently I find that I dislike most of the current England Test players; either because they are part of the gang, or sometimes merely because they are undeserving beneficiaries of the anti-meritocratic policies.
Cricket (like baseball) is a very statistical game; and we live in an era when the use of statistical analysis (the 'Moneyball' approach, so called from the superb baseball book) has reached new levels of sophistication. Yet - for the past few years - England selection doesn't just ignore, but actively contradicts what is known from statistics. The word for this is corruption; because corruption can be detected with confidence when personal factors outweigh merit, functionality, performance, and excellence.
As recently as a generation ago, England used-to-be one of the least corrupt of nations; a nation that exported integrity. This integrity came from the the middling people - the skilled working class and middling middle classes (the Nonconformists, in general).
But since the middle 90s (under the generic influence of Christian apostasy and Political Correctness) we have been corrupting as fast as our (always corrupt) Upper Class have been able to lead us, with the pervasive excuse of pandering to the underclass and the mass influx of recent immigrants (both of which the leadership encourage and sustain).
This has been enabled by the insignificant yet utterly 'converged' trainwreck that is current anti-Christian Nonconformism, and the sexualised and intoxicated hedonic materialism of British people generally. The middling people (in short, the Brexit supporters) remain the most decent of us; but they are gutless, gullible and distractable; as de facto atheists inevitably will be.
Since Test cricket is a microcosm of Life; it is inevitable - as well as depressing - that the general tenor of national Life manifests in the way that the Test cricket team is managed.