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Ollie Robinson

Chris Silverwood Getty Images
Chris Silverwood Getty Images

Chris Silverwood Insists To Stay On As England Coach Despite Ashes 2021/22 Defeat

Chris Silverwood has insisted he wants to stay on as England head coach, despite his team’s 4-0 Ashes drubbing – but admitted he could have shown his teeth more to the players amid accusations of dressing-room coziness.

Since beating India at Chennai last February, England has lost 10 Tests out of 14 and won only one – their worst sequence for 25 years. That has left Chris Silverwood’s fate dependent both on the post-series report by team managing director Ashley Giles and the views of ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and other members of the performance cricket committee, chaired by Andrew Strauss.

Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.
Chris Silverwood, England head coach Getty Image.

Chris Silverwood Admits That His Job Is Going To Be Under Scrutiny After Abject 2021/22 Ashes Loss

Tom Harrison is believed to have been unimpressed by what he has found during his three weeks in Australia, with England’s worst Ashes batting display since the 1950s compounded by a loss of confidence among the players in Chris Silverwood’s ability, and poor levels of communication. Before one Test, the coach sat down to tell a player he had been dropped, only for the player to say he had already read of his demise in a newspaper.

But Chris Silverwood is adamant that, with the help of a reformed domestic structure that places more emphasis on the red-ball game, he can help turn England’s fortunes around.

‘My job is going to be under scrutiny,’ Chris Silverwood said. ‘But I would love to help effect those changes within the county structures, and I would like to put some of this right. I think I’m a good coach and I would love to be given that opportunity, but there are certain things that are out of my hands at the moment.’

With less than six weeks before England flies to the Caribbean for a three-Test series, Tom Harrison and Andrew Strauss have little time to make their recommendations to the ECB board.

But whoever emerges as head coach may find their powers diluted, with Chris Silverwood struggling to balance day-to-day coaching with the dual demands of the Test and white-ball teams, plus the role of the chief selector. Assistant coaches such as Paul Collingwood, who is in charge of the T20 team’s forthcoming tour of the Caribbean, and Graham Thorpe may be asked to take on greater responsibility.

Paul Collingwood played 68 Tests, 197 One-day Internationals and 36 T20 for England.© AFP
Paul Collingwood played 68 Tests, 197 One-day Internationals, and 36 T20 for England.© AFP

The hierarchy must also decide whether a combination of Joe Root and Chris Silverwood lacks a bad-cop figure to tell the players to home truths, with Joe Root admitting after England lost at Hobart inside three days that there might be times where we need to get a little bit harder.

Chris Silverwood said: ‘With the situation we’ve been living in, I try to work through things with them, rather than shout or growl. But there will be aspects I’ve got to reflect on, because I’m not a finished article as a coach and I want to get better all the time. I’m not afraid to show my teeth, but you sometimes wonder in hindsight whether I should do it more. But then does it make it less effective? I don’t know.’

The farcical conclusion to the fifth Test on Sunday may not work in his favour. England’s last five wickets fell amid a flurry of slogs, misjudgments, and apathy, typified by last man Ollie Robinson, who backed away the first ball to Pat Cummins and lost his middle stump. Chris Silverwood, though, put the surrender down to tiredness.

‘I believe they’re still playing for us,’ Chris Silverwood said. ‘I think what we saw was players that are tired. It was hard to watch. At times, you were thinking, just get stuck in. Let’s show that fight, but we didn’t have that. And there is no point saying we did, because we clearly didn’t. We’ve got to get to the bottom of why that is, and try to make a difference.’

For the time being, Chris Silverwood said he would ‘start planning for the West Indies’ which means considering options outside the 16 who played at least one Test in Australia, where perhaps only Mark Wood and to a lesser extent Zak Crawley emerged with their reputations enhanced.

‘We’ve certainly got to look at what is out there as well,’ said Silverwood. ‘One of the things I will be doing is speaking to the scouts, the performance director. What have we got out there? Do we need to make changes?’

England knew they could not sink any lower when they were demolished for 51 by West Indies in Jamaica in 2009. They vowed to put things right and two years later were crowned the best Test team in the world.

Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher came together in 1999 with England ranked the worst of the lot and began the recovery that was to culminate with the fabled 2005 Ashes victory under Duncan Fletcher and Michael Vaughan. The board has been asleep at the wheel while England is facing up to a year when they will play more international cricket than ever before with their players in the mood to rebel against any further Covid bubbles and restrictions.

Joe Root’s captaincy race is run, Chris Silverwood has to pay the price for being given too much responsibility for coaching and selection. Joe Root cannot survive simply because there is no one else. He has overseen three Ashes without success after admitting before this series that his legacy would be judged by this one.  He needs to go back to the ranks and concentrate on restoring the very high batting levels misplaced during this series.

The one outstanding candidate to replace Joe Root is Ben Stokes. For all the reservations many, including this observer, have about overloading such an important player, Ben Stokes could do the job with one important proviso — he would have to give up T20s, the one format where he has never fulfilled his potential which includes the IPL.

If England’s top players are serious about rescuing Test cricket, they must give up a franchise tournament that in itself undermines first-class cricket by taking players away from the red-ball game at the start of each season. There should be a new coach in place by the time England plays their next Test in Antigua in March too.

Duncan Fletcher is the obvious man for the Test job. Paul Collingwood can take charge of a white-ball machine that shows no signs of malfunctioning under captain Eoin Morgan. That move led to the huge success of the 2019 World Cup but it has gone too far now.

Andrew Strauss, who has made a part-time return to administration as chair of the ECB cricket committee, is the best person to redress the balance. He should return to his old job at Ashley Giles’ expense or even replace Tom Harrison. England is missing the leadership of a character like Nasser Hussain to lead them into Tests.

Joe Root Questions How To Provide Incentives In County

Joe Root articulated what has to happen in the short term to ignite that red-ball reset while at his lowest ebb in the aftermath of the pitiful Hobart batting collapse and a three-day last Test defeat.

“What incentives are there in the County Championship to open the batting?’ he asked. ‘What incentives are there to be a spinner or to bowl fast? Anyone coming into Test cricket is doing it in spite of county cricket, not because of it.”

“How do we provide those incentives? We could produce better wickets, hopefully by playing at a better time of year. We could flatten the seam on the ball, maybe by giving our seamers a Kookaburra to work with. That would nullify running in and bowling at 70 miles per hour while encouraging bowlers to create new angles and find different ways to take wickets. And give spinners the chance to bowl in the first half of the season.”

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Joe Root understands the need for changes but it looks like he won’t be the one making them.

“Then we could double the batting points in a Championship game and incentivise first innings leads above 400. When do our young batters ever go out under the pressure of replying to 450-500? When do they have to save a match in spinning conditions? There are lots of things we could change quite quickly but for now it’s how we react to this Ashes. Can we use this experience when we’re hurting to grow and come back as better players?”

England lost the first match by 9 wickets at the Gabba, the second game by 275 runs at Adelaide Oval, and the third game by an innings and 14 runs at Melbourne Cricket Ground.  However, they managed to avoid the 5-0 whitewash with a hard-fought draw in the fourth Test at Sydney Cricket Ground. Also, England lost the last match of the series by 146 runs at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart

England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

Ollie Robinson Must Improve His Fitness Says Bowling Coach; England 188 In Reply To Australia’s 303

Ollie Robinson must improve his fitness to deal with the demands of Test cricket, bowling coach Jon Lewis said after the 28-year-old suffered a back spasm on the opening day of the final Ashes Test against Australia on Friday.

Ollie Robinson took two early wickets in Hobart, sending back David Warner and Steve Smith for a duck, but later sustained the back problem that limited his bowling to eight overs.

Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images

Ollie Robinson Must Improve His Fitness: Jon Lewis

Australia, who enjoy an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series, ended the first day of the pink-ball contest on 241-6. Ollie Robinson has taken 37 wickets in eight Tests for England since his debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in June last year. Jon Lewis said the team was hoping Ollie Robinson could recover overnight and return to bowling on Saturday.
“(His fitness) is something he needs to improve”, Lewis said. “He’s got a record of playing a lot of games of county cricket but international cricket is of higher intensity and you play it all year round.
Travis Head of Australia scores a century during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England Image Source : GETTY
Travis Head of Australia scores a century during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England Image Source: GETTY
“So he’s got to get used to understanding what it takes to be a full-time year-round international cricketer and playing that extra day, five days of Test cricket. Those things can come and go so we’re hoping with treatment overnight he can come back tomorrow and be free enough to bowl.”
Australia resumed innings on 241 for 6 on the second day of the 5th Ashes Test in Hobart. The rain and bad weather forced early stumps on Friday (1st Day) after Travis Head’s rapid hundred and a gritty half-century from Cameron Green put the host in a comfortable position.

Pat Cummins Picks 4 Scalps To Restrict England to 188 After Travis Head’s 101 See Australia Cross 300 Run Mark

Travis Head, who scored 152 in the opening test at Brisbane and missed the previous Test for Covid-19, counterpunched England’s early success with an aggressive 101 off 113 balls in the day-night test as Australia came back strongly after losing the toss. Cameron Green contributed an authoritative 74 and Marnus Labuschagne scored a rapid 44 before the rain arrived around half an hour after tea and prevented further play.
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Mitchell Starc took 3 scalps while Pat Cummins picked 4 as England was bowled out at 188 after Australia was bowled out for 303. Chris Woakes’ 36, Joe Root’s 34, and debutant Sam Billings’ 29 were England’s notable contributors with the bat in hand.
England, PTI
England, PTI

Ashes 2021-22: Ricky Ponting Criticised England’s Team Selection Following 3-0 Drubbing

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain criticized England’s team selections in Brisbane and Adelaide, accusing the tourists of constantly planning ahead without focusing on the game in front of them. England’s Ashes 2021/22 campaign was doomed for failure right from their team selection for the first Test, believes Ricky Ponting.

Speaking after the tourists’ embarrassing innings defeat at Melbourne ensured that the series was finished as a live contest before even reaching its middle day, the former Australia captain accused England’s decision-makers of overthinking their big calls to such an extent that they ended up snookering themselves.

Ricky Ponting. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Ricky Ponting. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ricky Ponting Was Surprised By The Fact That Either Of James Anderson And Stuart Broad Didn’t Play In Brisbane

Recalling the opening Test at Brisbane, for which there was a poor weather forecast and a green pitch, as well as a little history of spinners playing a key role, England opted for spinner Jack Leach over experienced pacer Stuart Broad, while leaving out highest wicket-taker pacer James Anderson as a precaution to have him ready for the day-night Test in Adelaide.

James Anderson told reporters after his four-wicket haul at the MCG that he had been “fit for that game”. It was just the third time in 169 matches that England had gone into a Test without either of their great legendary fast bowlers.

“They’ve out-thought themselves with their selections for Brisbane, looking forward to Adelaide and then looking forward to the MCG,” said Ricky Ponting, analysing the series.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits : Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)

“Pick your best team from the start and then see how far that group can take you. The fact that Anderson and Broad didn’t play in Brisbane is staggering,” said Ricky Ponting.

Once selecting Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, and Ollie Robinson as their seam attack – alongside Ben Stokes, in his first competitive red-ball game for England since March after a significant spell out of the game – they won the toss in overcast conditions but chose to bat first. Rory Burns was bowled round his legs by Mitchell Starc to the first delivery of the series, which set a grisly tone for all that has followed.

“The fact that Joe Root didn’t bowl first in Brisbane was staggering,” added Ricky Ponting. “The fact that Mark Wood didn’t play in Adelaide was staggering. He looked like one of the most likely bowlers up in Brisbane.”

Mark Wood was a rare bright spark in a nine-wicket defeat, offering searing pace and hostility in a team otherwise absent of those qualities, with Jofra Archer and Olly Stone both missing with injuries.

But with England worried about the burden on their X-Factor fast bowler, they rested him for the pink-ball Test at Adelaide, instead of unleashing Stuart Broad and James Anderson together – both fresh after missing the opener, but also rusty because of the shortage of cricket in the build-up.

Ricky Ponting Reckons England To Plan Well In Future

For the second time this year – following a similarly galling defeat at Ahmedabad in India tour – they had drastically misjudged the conditions of a Day-Night Test. Jack Leach, taken down by Australia’s left-handers at Brisbane in the 1st Test, was left out despite the 2nd Test’s Adelaide Oval’s curator publicly warning them that not selecting a spinner would be a serious error.

Ollie Robinson ended up bowling off-spin, while Dawid Malan unfurled his part-time leg-breaks. Jack Leach and Mark Wood watched on from the sidelines.

Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Ricky Ponting said: “All their planning, their thoughts, and their structures have just been completely wrong, and it’s come back to bite them. There’s no good looking forward from Brisbane if you’re going to be one or two-nil down. And that’s what it was: they planned for Melbourne – already being two-nil down, they’ve come here and been pantsed again. So, they’ve got some really, really deep thinking to do.”

Jack Leach, a hero from Headingley in 2019, was treated with contempt in the first Test by Australia’s batsmen and went for 1-102. The decision to drop the experienced spinner for the next Test came back to bite them in Adelaide where they went in without a spinner on what proved a turning wicket. He could only bowl 13 overs because he conceded 102 runs in them at a staggering economy rate of 7.8 in the 1st Ashes Test.

Joe Root’s men were the fastest to surrender the Urn after they were skittled out for a meagre 68 on day 3 of the third Test to lose the match by an innings and 14 runs. England had lost the first two Tests by nine wickets and 275 runs at Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.

England, PTI
England, PTI

Nasser Hussain Reckons There’s An Issue With England’s Batting System And Adds There’s No Quick Fix

Nasser Hussain, the former England captain lashed out at the English batters for their below-par show on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test. Nasser Hussain said England’s struggles extend beyond their technical shortcomings, and the ECB must revamp the entire system.

England’s batting unit again collapsed for a below-par total after Australia inserted the visitors in. The tourists managed only 185, with captain Joe Root being the only one to make a half-century. In response, Australia reached 61-1 by the close of play on Day 1, thanks to David Warner’s quick-fire 38.

Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Nasser Hussain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain: England Have To Look At The Quality Of Batting Coming Through

Nasser Hussain feels the quality of batters needs to be addressed, as the English system has loopholes. Reflecting how England solved their white-ball woes in 2015, Nasser Hussain highlighted the need for a similar overhaul in red-ball cricket.

“There’s clearly an issue with our system, and there’s no quick fix. We have to look at the quality of batting coming through. In defence of county cricket, it should be said that when England are playing well they take the credit and when things are bad it’s the fault of the counties, but England addressed their problems with the white ball game in 2015 to spectacular effect, and now we have to do the same with the red ball game.”

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

While England made four changes, including two in the batting unit, that hardly made a difference on the opening day of the third Test. Zak Crawley(12) and Jonny Bairstow(35) started promisingly, but couldn’t convert their starts into notable scores while Joe Root (50) was the top scorer yet again.

23-year-old Zak Crawley averages just 27.74 from 16 Tests which is only fractionally less than his first-class average of 31.33. They are hardly numbers to demand Test selection. After the first eight Tests, in which his constant improvement was capped by that 267 against Pakistan, he averaged 48.41. In 2021, he averages 11.2 from 8 Tests but yet was called up to replace Rory Burns.

Nasser Hussain: England Bowlers Become A Bit Defensive As They Are Constantly Bowling Without Much Runs On The Board

Nasser Hussain said that bowlers bowl defensively when they have fewer runs on the board, which was evident with England. The 53-year old believes the day couldn’t have gone any worse for Joe Root-led England.

“They are constantly bowling without runs on the board, and when that happens, there can be a tendency for bowlers to become a bit defensive and not want to go for boundaries. Or then suddenly go searching for wickets because they are chasing the game.”

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

“It was because England only had 185 on the field that Root immediately became defensive. If they had managed even 300, they could have attacked that much more, but I do feel for the bowlers. A Boxing Day I’m afraid to forget for England.”

James Anderson was the only wicket-taker on day one for England. They will need many more on the second day to keep their stuttering Ashes’ 2021/22 hopes alive.

England had made four changes to their side that lost by 275 runs in Adelaide to concede a 2-0 lead in the series, but again their batters struggled as Pat Cummins ripped through the top order by lunch on Day 1 and Nathan Lyon matched his captain’s haul of 3 for 36 as England succumbed for under 200 runs for the 12th time this year.

Marcus Harris made a battling 76 off 189 balls as he top-scored as Australia scored 267 in their first essay taking a first-innings lead of 82 runs. James Anderson was the pick of England bowlers picking 4 scalps while Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood picked 2 apiece.

Siraj, Ashwin
Siraj, Ashwin

Aakash Chopra Picks Top 5 Test Bowlers Of 2021; Ravichandran Ashwin And Mohammed Siraj On TheList

Aakash Chopra has picked his top five Test bowlers of 2021. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Axar Patel are a couple of star Indian performers who failed to make the list.

India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, with 52 scalps to his name, is the highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2021 to date. Meanwhile, Axar Patel has the best average (11.86) among bowlers who have picked up at least 15 wickets.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picks England Pace Duo Of James Anderson And Ollie Robinson As Best Bowling Performers In Tests In 2021; Ravichandran Ashwin Lone Spinner

Aakash Chopra did pick off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as one of the five best Test bowlers of 2021. He is the only spinner on the list. India’s premier off-spinner became the country’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests recently.

He said the following about the wily spinner in a video shared on his YouTube channel: “Ravichandran Ashwin – he is there. He has picked up 52 wickets in eight matches, he didn’t get to play a single Test against England in England. He was good in the Sydney Test against Australia and the WTC final was also not that bad. He was absolutely sensational in India.”

Veteran England pacer James Anderson also earned the former India cricketer turned commentator’s vote.

Aakash Chopra observed: “Jimmy Anderson’s name is there in this list. 32 wickets in 19 matches, he has played in Sri Lanka, India and at home. He was exceptional in the first Test against India at Chennai, took a five-wicket haul in Sri Lanka as well.”

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Ollie Robinson was another English bowler picked by Aakash Chopra.

He reasoned: “Ollie Robinson – he has taken 28 wickets in five matches. His stature is growing. Some of the old issues came to the fore but he just fought through it and he has done very well.”

Ollie Robinson picked up seven wickets in his debut Test against New Zealand at Lord’s. He was dropped after some of his old racist tweets hogged the headlines. However, he bounced back brilliantly against India when he was picked again in the England side.

Aakash Chopra Picked Mohammed Siraj As 2nd Indian Bowler On List Of Best 2021 Test Bowlers While Shaheen Shah Afridi Tops The Charts

Aakash Chopra picked pacer Mohammed Siraj as the second Indian on his list of five best Test bowlers of 2021.

He explained: “I have put Mohammed Siraj’s name in this list. 28 wickets in nine matches, he gave a fantastic performance at Lord’s, good performances in Sydney and Brisbane. He has been continuously doing well. I like his attitude, he makes the ball talk off the surface.”

The reputed commentator concluded by naming Pakistan express pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi as the standout Test bowler of 2021.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “I am picking Shaheen Shah Afridi as the No.1 Test bowler for 2021. 47 wickets in nine matches at an average of 17. He has been sensational, there was a time where he was taking a five-wicket haul in every match.”

Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)
Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)

Shaheen Shah Afridi picked 47 wickets in nine matches at an average of 17.06, while Mohammed Siraj, who has picked 28 wickets for India in 2021 at an average of 29.89, is second on this list. Ollie Robinson who has picked 33 wickets in seven Test matches at an average of 20.03 was also included.

England’s James Anderson, who is currently the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, also features in Aakash Chopra’s list. James Anderson, who is currently playing the second Ashes 2021/22 Test, has picked 32 wickets at an average of 24.65. Ravichandran Ashwin who has been phenomenal for India in Test Cricket in 2021 also featured in the list. He picked 52 wickets in eight matches at an average of 16.23.

Aakash Chopra’s top-five Test bowlers of 2021: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammed Siraj, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson, and Ravichandran Ashwin.

David Warner. Credits: Twitter
David Warner. Credits: Twitter

Ashes 2021/22: David Warner Doubtful For Adelaide Test

David Warner, the Australian opener was in “severe discomfort” after copping a “nasty blow” on day two of the 1st Gabba Ashes 2021/22 Test match against England. Australian opener David Warner has not taken the field in England’s second innings at the Gabba due to “severely bruised ribs” he sustained during the first Ashes Test.

David Warner scored 94 in Australia’s first innings before he was deceived by England seamer Ollie Robinson on Thursday afternoon, chipping a slower ball directly to mid-off. He fell six runs short of becoming the third cricketer to score five Test centuries at the iconic Brisbane venue.

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credits: Twitter)

David Warner Didn’t Field After Copping A Knock From A Ben Stokes Bouncer During His 94 In Australia’s 1st Innings

However, David Warner was not spotted on the field when England’s second innings got underway. Cricket Australia revealed that the 35-year-old was off the field with bruised ribs, and West Australian seamer Jhye Richardson had replaced him as a substitute fielder. David Warner was replaced by a substitute fielder in England’s innings on day three after copping a knock from a Ben Stokes bouncer during his innings of 94 on day two at The Gabba.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

David Warner is believed to have injured his ribs during the first innings of the Gabba Test, in which he scored 94. He did not bat in the second innings, in which Australia needed just 20 to win. Usman Khawaja, who was recalled to the Australian squad is likely to replace him if he’s ruled out. Queensland opener Bryce Street is set to be added to the Australian squad and will be a contender for the opening slot as well.

England was bundled out for 147 in their first innings after opting to bat first. In response, Australia piled 425 and took a massive lead of 278 runs. Joe Root showed some resistance in the second innings, scoring 89 and along with Dawid Malan’s 82, England posted 297 on the scoreboard. Australia then wrapped up the show and as expected the hosts then chased down the 20-run target comfortably.

Josh Hazlewood Will Also Miss 2nd Test As He Flew Home

Josh Hazlewood, the right-arm pacer returned to bowl six overs on day four and had Jos Buttler caught behind for 23 as Australia won by nine wickets. For Australia, losing Josh Hazlewood’s services will be a big blow ahead of the day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval as has scalped 32 wickets at an average of 19.90 in pink-ball Tests.

In last summer’s pink-ball Test against India, Josh Hazlewood was the chief architect of India being shot out for 36 in the second innings, picking 5/8 in just five overs. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has reportedly been ruled out of the second Ashes Test on Adelaide, starting December 16 and as a result, has flown back home. Opening batter David Warner’s participation too is in doubt.

Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)
Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)

Jhye Richardson is set to be Josh Hazlewood’s replacement, which would mean that he would play just his third Test, his first after debuting against Sri Lanka in 2019. He has picked up six wickets from two matches so far. However, Michael Neser, who picked up seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings against the Lions could also be in contention.

Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)

England’s Comprehensive Defeat In The 1st Ashes Test Doesn’t Surprise Michael Vaughan

England’s gruelling nine-wicket Ashes 2021 defeat at the Gabba “just does not surprise” Michael Vaughan. The former captain slammed the visitors on Sunday, saying he’s now habitual of seeing Joe Root-led England’s  ‘fundamental’ issues and their propensity to give up hope before performing badly.

Day 4 of the Test had started with both Joe Root and Dawid Malan carrying on their promising overnight partnership and looking set to plunder at least a decent lead. But England crumbled from 223-2 to 297-10 in 29 overs and could only set a 20-run target, which was shot down in just 31 balls by the hosts.

England, PTI
England, PTI

England’s Ex-Skipper Michael Vaughan Laments England’s Horrendous Sessions Against Better Teams

Michael Vaughan lamented England’s recurring theme of “horrendous sessions” against better teams.

Vaughan said: “I thought that might happen. It happens a lot to this England side where you get a load of hope and, before you know it, you’re done and dusted quite quickly. Everything that’s happened this week just does not surprise me.”

Vaughan added: “You kind of have hope that things can be different and they’ll get it right because they’ve got so much talent in the team, but fundamentally against the best teams, this is what England do. If you look at it over the past few years, when they’ve played the better teams – Australia, India, New Zealand; it happened in the summer that we’ve just had, it happened against Australia in 2019 – this England side, they have horrendous sessions.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Few gave England any chance of winning the Gabba Test. In the leadup to the series, England lost to New Zealand 1-0 and conceded a 2-1 series lead to India at home, which led bare their overreliance on Joe Root and inability to weave aggressive bowling spells without the injured Jofra Archer, who was ruled out from playing in 2021.

One of the key factors behind Australia’s win was their belligerence against Jack Leach. The left-arm spinner could only bowl 13 overs because he conceded 102 runs in them at a staggering economy rate of 7.8. In contrast, his counterpart Nathan Lyon bowled 43 overs at 2.6 apiece while also picking up four wickets.

Michael Vaughan believes leaving out Jack Leach is fraught with danger and says England has not helped themselves, nor the left-arm spinner’s confidence, by not playing him throughout their home summer following his impressive tours of the subcontinent.

Michael Vaughan: Australia Targeted Vulnerable Jack Leach Brilliantly

Michael Vaughan blamed England for Jack Leach’s lack of confidence, saying the visitors not trusting his skills despite good performances put him in a vulnerable spot which Australia exploited brilliantly.

Vaughan said: “It looks like the Aussies knew that Jack Leach had not played any cricket and is a vulnerable player in the side. Because he’s not been picked and, in your own mind as an individual when you’ve been in and out of the side because the team hasn’t trusted you to play since you’ve had such a good winter in Sri Lanka and India, he’s clearly in that vulnerable position and Australia targeted him brilliantly.”

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Michael Vaughan added that he wouldn’t be too surprised if England does away with spin completely in the second Test and go for an all-seam attack while bolstering their batting line-up.

He remarked: “I’m always a believer that you need variation. If you’ve got five bowlers in your attack, surely four seamers can do the job. If you’re asking for a fifth then your four seamers haven’t bowled well enough. It wouldn’t surprise me if England went without the spinner and pack the batting, picked another batter and played four seamers.”

The Adelaide Test, a day-night fixture, will kick off at 9:30 IST on Thursday. The latest first Test shocker saw England lose all but one session across four days, which culminated in a deflating nine-wicket defeat.

At least one of Stuart Broad or James Anderson will likely return for the Adelaide Test, with Jack Leach and Chris Woakes looming as the men to make way after Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood were the pick of the bowlers.

Jason Gillespie. (Credits: Twitter)
Jason Gillespie. (Credits: Twitter)

Spin Bowling England’s Biggest Concern In The Ashes 2021/22, Says Jason Gillespie

Jason Gillespie, the former Australian pace bowler has pointed out that spin, and not seam bowling, is England’s biggest concern in the ongoing Ashes 2021/22 series after the tourists lost the opening Test at The Gabba by nine wickets comprehensively.

While England pacers Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, and Chris Woakes were economical to an extent, 30-year-old left-arm spinner Jack Leach bled runs, conceding as much as 102 first-innings runs in 13 overs at an economy rate of nearly eight. Jack Leach, England’s only frontline slow bowler, had figures of 1/102 in 13 overs.

Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Jason Gillespie: Australians Will Always Take On Finger Spinners

Jason Gillespie said that Jack Leach was “always going to be pummelled at the Gabba” and Dom Bess will face similar punishment if he is included for the second Test in Adelaide, as Australians can handle finger spinners nicely.

“The biggest bowling concern for Joe Root is not in the seam department. It’s what they’re going to do with regards to spin. Australians always have and always will take on finger spin because it doesn’t offer a hell of a lot. The policy is to go hard at it,” Gillespie said in his column on Sunday.

Jason Gillespie managed to play an unbeaten knock of 201 against Bangladesh in Chattogram.
Jason Gillespie managed to play an unbeaten knock of 201 against Bangladesh in Chattogram. (File Photo | AFP).

“You didn’t have to be Einstein to see that Jack Leach would be lined up to be pummelled. He’s not a big turner of the ball; the Gabba doesn’t have huge straight boundaries, so of course, the Australians were looking to belt him,” added Gillespie, who played 71 Tests for Australia, taking 259 wickets.

Jason Gillespie’s prediction for 24-year-old right-arm spinner Dom Bess wasn’t encouraging either, with the 46-year-old former pacer saying he can expect the same treatment from the Australian batters in the pink-ball Test in Adelaide if he is included. Dom Bess was part of England’s squad when they toured India and he was quite ineffective there.

“If Dom Bess comes in, he can expect the same treatment. I can’t comprehend why wrist-spinner Mason Crane wasn’t picked for Australian conditions.”

England had included Jack Leach in the Brisbane Test and left out veteran pacer Stuart Broad and James Anderson from the playing XI for the opening Test. The decision backfired for the Joe Root-led side as the left-arm spinner picked just one wicket and gave away 102 in 13 overs at an economy rate of 7.8.

Mason Crane has played a solitary Test and 2 T20Is and picked only 1 wicket each in the formats. His T20I matches came against South Africa in 2017 and his only Test was against Australia in 2018.

Jason Gillespie: Nathan Lyon Is One Of The Greats Of The Game

Jason Gillespie showered praise on Australian spinner Nathan Lyon who crossed 400 Test wickets in The Gabba Test, taking four second-innings wickets, which restricted England to 297.

“Like a finger spinner, Nathan Lyon is an outlier. He is one of the greats of the game as a 400-wicket bowler, but even then they only come around every 67 balls. So Root has something to think about there,” added Gillespie.

Nathan Lyon Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Nathan Lyon Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Nathan Lyon bowled 33 wicketless overs in the first Ashes Test and had to wait for almost a year since his 399th Test scalp to join the elite list of Australian bowlers with 400 or more Test wickets. Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) are the other Australian bowlers who have taken 400 or more Test wickets. Nathan Lyon became the 17th Test bowler to reach 400 scalps.

Nathan Lyon, skipper Pat Cummins, David Warner, and Travis Head were the standout performers as Australia defeated England by nine wickets in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, Brisbane on Saturday. Chasing 20, Alex Carey (9) and Marcus Harris (9*) made light work of the chase and the hosts registered victory in just 5.1 overs.

Australia 425 and 1 for 20 (Harris 9*, Robinson 1-13) beat England 147 and 297 (Root 89, Malan 82, Lyon 4-91) by nine wickets

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon

Ashes 2021-22: Yet To Sink In After Reaching 400-Wicket Milestone, Says Nathan Lyon

Nathan Lyon, Australia’s off-spinner said reaching the milestone of 400 Test wickets in Saturday’s big 1st Ashes Test 2021/22 win and joining cricket’s greats had not yet sunk in.

A classical off-spinner, the 34-year-old removed Dawid Malan for 82 on the fourth day of the first Test against England to write his name in Australian sporting history.

Nathan Lyon Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Nathan Lyon Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Nathan Lyon: It’s Been Very Rewarding To Reach 400 Wicket Milestone

Australia has drawn first blood in the Ashes after taking an emphatic 1-0 lead after just three and a half days of the first Test at the Gabba. The hosts were set a target of just 20 to win the match after lunch following yet another batting collapse from England which saw the final eight wickets fall for just 74 runs.

Speaking immediately after playing a central role in Australia’s nine-wicket victory at the Gabba, Lyon said: “It hasn’t really hit me yet to be honest. No doubt I’ll get my phone and call my family and friends, and that will probably hit a little bit closer to home, I guess. But it’s something that I’m very proud of, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been some hard toil to get it, but it’s very rewarding, that’s for sure.”

Dawid Malan Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Dawid Malan Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ahead of the Test, Nathan Lyon had nominated England captain Joe Root as the scalp he would like as his 400th, given they have played so much against each other. He had to make do with Dawid Malan, with Marnus Labuschagne taking the catch at silly mid-off.

Nathan Lyon Is Australia’s Most Important Bowler: Pat Cummins

Nathan Lyon, in his 101st Test and after a decade on the team, became just the 16th player worldwide to achieve the feat and only the third Australian after Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan tops the all-time Test wicket-takers with 800 wickets, followed by Shane Warne on 708.

England star Jimmy Anderson is third on 632 scalps but was overlooked for the Brisbane Test, as was fellow paceman Stuart Broad, who is sixth on the list with 524. Nathan Lyon took 4-91 in the second innings to move to 403 wickets overall. Next in his sights is West Indies’ great Curtly Ambrose, who has 405 wickets.

Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP

Australian captain Pat Cummins stressed how important Nathan Lyon was to the team.

“He’s our most important bowler, not just for wicket-taking, but you saw how many overs he bowled yesterday,” Cummins said.

“He went for two and a half an over for 20 overs on a hot day.”

Nathan Lyon had been stuck on 399 Test wickets for 326 days and had to bowl 208 deliveries before finally reaching the milestone. England’s Dawid Malan fell bat-pad early on the fourth morning to help Nathan Lyon become the 17th Test bowler to reach 400 scalps.

Nathan Lyon took four wickets on the fourth morning, including that of Dawid Malan’s for his 400th to start the rot prior to the new ball being taken, while Cameron Green claimed the prized scalp of Joe Root for 89 as England lost 8 for 74 to be bowled out for 297 and set Australia just 20 runs to win.

His 401st wicket took just 11 more deliveries to get, bamboozling Ollie Pope with sharp bounce and turn as he tried to cut a ball that pitched wide off. It only took 37 more to reach 403 as Ollie Robinson gifted Nathan Lyon his wicket with an attempted reverse sweep while Mark Wood was bowled by a full ball that drifted and dropped under the bat.

Australia 425 and 1 for 20 (Harris 9*, Robinson 1-13) beat England 147 and 297 (Root 89, Malan 82, Lyon 4-91) by nine wickets

Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP

Pat Cummins Registers Record 5/38 In His First 1st Test As A Skipper To Bundle Out England For 147 At Gabba

Pat Cummins, the Australian fast bowler, and newly appointed skipper joined former India captain Anil Kumble and Courtney Walsh among other greats in the unique list of players to have achieved a record of picking a 5 wicket haul as Test skipper. Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins on Wednesday recorded a five-wicket haul on Day 1 of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane and joined a unique list of bowlers to have achieved the feat as captains.

Pat Cummins is playing his first Test as the captain of Australia since Tim Paine stepped down from the role in November after a scandal. Pat Cummins ended with figures of 5/38 in 13.1 overs as Australia made a dream start to the Ashes series, bowling England out on a below-par 147 in the first innings. Pat Cummins, who is leading Australia for the first time in Tests, sent back England all-rounder Ben Stokes to claim his first wicket as captain.

Pat Cummins dismissed Ben Stokes early on Day 1 of 1st Ashes Test.© AFP
Pat Cummins dismissed Ben Stokes early on Day 1 of 1st Ashes Test.© AFP

Pat Cummins Became First Bowler Since Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan To Take 5 Wickets In Debut Test As Skipper

The paceman dismissed England’s danger man Ben Stokes (5) cheaply in the morning, then grabbed another four victims after lunch. Pat Cummins led his team off the ground holding the Kookaburra ball aloft, enjoying a huge ovation from the Gabba crowd after his first five-wicket haul against England.

Pat Cummins became the first bowler since Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan in 2019 to take a five-wicket haul in his debut Test as captain. Rashid Khan had achieved the feat against Bangladesh in Chattogram, where he took five-wicket hauls across both innings of the Test.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Overall, Pat Cummins joins a list of elite bowler-captains to have taken a five-wicket haul that includes India’s Anil Kumble, West Indies’ Courtney Walsh, New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori among others. Earlier this year, Joe Root – the English captain – also achieved a five-wicket haul during a Test against India.

Earlier, England won the toss against Australia but the hosts made an electrifying start, thanks to Mitchell Starc’s dismissal of Rory Burns in the first delivery of the innings. England could never recover from the initial setback and was eventually bowled out in the second session.

England Omits Pacer Stuart Broad In A Major Surprise

Mitchell Starc bowled England opener Rory Burns with the first ball of the series and wickets followed regularly thereafter, despite a brief fightback from Jos Buttler (39) and Ollie Pope (35).

Pat Cummins himself registered a fifer in this innings (5-38). Mitchell Starc (2/35) and Josh Hazlewood(2/42) and Cameron Green (1/6) were the other wicket-takers. Apart from Haseeb Hameed (25), Ollie Pope (35), Jos Buttler(39), and Chris Woakes (21) none of the other batsmen registered double-digit figures.

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first in the opening Ashes Test against Australia at the Gabba on Wednesday as the tourists omitted paceman Stuart Broad in a major surprise. James Anderson was also rested as a precautionary measure.

The tourists left Stuart Broad out in favour of spinner Jack Leach with Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, and Chris Woakes to lead the pace attack, which was confirmed by skipper Joe Root at the toss. No further play was possible on Day 1 as rain played spoilsport after England’s innings ended.

Playing XIs:

Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (captain), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc.

England: Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (captain), Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood.

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