Joe Root’s England team have had a tough year in Test cricket. There seem to be systemic issues in English cricket and their red-ball cricket has gone well below the desired standards. Such has been the extent that they created unwanted history at the Boxing Day Test as the team suffered their quickest Ashes defeat, in just 12 days.
The tourists’ 68 all out in the second innings at Melbourne summed up how horrendous they have been in the series. The Boxing Day Test was wrapped up in just 180.4 overs, the shortest match on Australian soil in the past 71 years. Here’s how their three horror weeks Down Under have resulted in one of the quickest Ashes defeat ever.
ENGLAND GET KEY DECISIONS WRONG AT THE GABBA
It’s the start of a high-profile Ashes series and the stage is set for England’s big players to step up and set the tone for the rest of the series and what do the English management do? They rest their most experienced bowlers. On a green seamer at the Gabba, the dynamic duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, a combined total of 1156 Test wickets have to be on the sidelines and watch a bowling lineup play who have never played a Test match together. Irrespective of the skill gap or Australia’s experience of playing on home conditions, the least England could have done was to make the right selection calls, something they have struggled with under the leadership of Chris Silverwood and Joe Root.
To make matters worse, Joe Root won the toss and knowing how undercooked his batting lineup is he still elected to bat first on a green top in Brisbane. If this isn’t a recipe for disaster then what is? It’s no surprise that England were behind the eight ball before even a single ball was bowled in the first Test and went on to lose the match by nine wickets.
THEY WERE OUTCLASSED IN THE DAY AND NIGHT TEST
All their hopes were pinned on the pink ball Test at the Adelaide Oval just like they had thought about the match at Ahmedabad against India earlier this year. Seems like this England side only believes in preplanning and isn’t flexible on the plans considering the conditions on offer. As it happened in Ahmedabad that they had read the conditions horribly wrong, something similar happened in Adelaide as England went with a full-seam attack on a pretty dry Adelaide wicket which is known to assist the spinner later in the game. Mark Wood, who is the only English bowler who can bowl at a pace that can trouble the Australian batters was rested for this match and all the five seamers were similar. The attack lacked any sort of variation to cause any issues to the batters.
Australia won the toss and batted big in the first innings and with 473 on the board, they were a couple of steps ahead of their competitors. The English batting lineup never had it in them to get anywhere close to the Australian total and went on to lose the match by 275 runs.
GOT ‘BOLAND’ AT THE G
Trailing 2-0 in the series, England came for the Boxing Day Test convinced that they had it in them to turn this around. They made a few key changes to the batting order hoping for big scores from their batters and what they got was exactly the opposite. The English batters crumbled under pressure and we saw some questionable decision making in the middle by key batters. They got all out for 187 in the first innings and it was the same issue all over again.
The English bowlers led by James Anderson did their best to keep the Ashes alive and got Australia all out for 267 in their first innings. Now it was up to the batters to show up for the first time in the series and bat their way out of trouble. What followed was disastrous and embarrassing for English cricket. The team showed no fighting spirit whatsoever and bundled out for just 68 and lost the match by an innings and 14 runs. Never before had an English team lost by an innings to a total as low as the 267 Australia made at the MCG. Scott Boland, the 32-year-old fast bowler making his Test debut at his home ground got the man of the match award for his six-wicket haul in the second innings. With all the hype and build-up for the series, the Ashes got over in just 12 days. For sure this has to be the lowest point in English cricket history.
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