[ad_1]

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mike Atherton says a combination of ‘bad luck and circumstance’ led to England being ‘completely underprepared’ for the start of The Ashes

Mike Atherton says a combination of ‘bad luck and circumstance’ led to England being ‘completely underprepared’ for the start of The Ashes

Mike Atherton explains why he has sympathy for a ‘completely underprepared’ England side, why he had no issue with James Anderson and Stuart Broad being left out and which Australia player caught his eye as he reviews the first Ashes Test…

It was a disappointing morning after the optimism from the partnership between Joe Root and Dawid Malan the day before, both of them played absolutely beautifully.

There was an issue with Josh Hazlewood, who we understand was not 100 per cent fit, David Warner was off the field with sore ribs so you could see a path to England putting Australia under some pressure if they’d got through to that second new ball and seen it off.

But it wasn’t to be, it was a really poor morning, they lost eight wickets in a slightly extended session. Those first few overs, losing three before the second new ball was the killer really.

Of course, Root would have wanted a hundred, he knows he’s never got one in Australia and, more importantly, he’d have wanted one because that was the only way England could win the game. He did play really well the day before, he played in the same kind of form that he showed all summer so that was a very promising sign. But he can’t do it on his own!

Joe Root's effort in the second innings was promising for England, says Atherton

Joe Root’s effort in the second innings was promising for England, says Atherton

If you look at England in the last dozen Tests or so, they have become so reliant on Root and obviously if England are going to do well here in Australia, you’d think he is going to have to have a very productive series, but he needs others around him to support him as well. Malan batted well yesterday but England’s batting in both innings, other than that one partnership, was poor and that’s going to cost them.

They were completely underprepared, and I have a lot of sympathy for them in this regard. There is the Covid pandemic which has necessitated the kind of schedule which they had but then the torrential rains in Queensland just knocked out the minimal preparation that they had been given or had given themselves.

It is a combination of bad luck and circumstance, but the upshot was that they came into this game totally underprepared. I can’t think that I’ve seen an England team more underprepared in that sense; Jimmy Anderson said it in his newspaper column, he’s never been more underprepared for a series, hence why he didn’t get in that 12-man squad.

Live Big Bash League

December 12, 2021, 7:45am

Live on

But you’re looking at the likes of Anderson and Broad, who have not played for a long time, Ben Stokes who has not played since July and not bowled in a Test match since March, and the batsmen having had minimal time in the middle because of rain. I have a lot of sympathy in that sense, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re 1-0 down.

Fair enough to leave out Anderson and Broad

I’m in a bit of a minority but I think that leaving Broad and Anderson out is perfectly fair enough. I know Root’s got a lot of criticism for that; people can’t understand why you’d leave 1,000 wickets on the bench. But I think in all normal circumstances, one of, if not both, would have played.

England just haven’t had the opportunity to get these guys up to speed; Broad tore his calf so badly over the summer that he spent weeks in a wheelchair unable to put any weight on his foot and hasn’t played since August.

It was 'completely understandable' to leave out James Anderson and Stuart Broad given the lack of preparation time, says Athers

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

It was ‘completely understandable’ to leave out James Anderson and Stuart Broad given the lack of preparation time, says Athers

It was ‘completely understandable’ to leave out James Anderson and Stuart Broad given the lack of preparation time, says Athers

Anderson is 39 years of age and hasn’t played for two or three months either – and I understand he may have started the tour with a slight niggle so he was a bit behind the others in preparation time as well. So again, I had a lot of sympathy for the decision to leave those two out.

Just go back to when Anderson played in that Test match at Edgbaston in 2019 against Australia, on the back of no match practice, and tore his calf after four overs. He was out of the match and out of the series. If that had have happened here, Joe Root would have got eviscerated for that.

I think the caution in leaving those two on the sidelines was completely understandable and, in fact, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood all bowled pretty well and created chances. That wasn’t where the game was lost.

The game was lost through lack of preparation, lack of depth in the bowling because Jack Leach was attacked and Stokes was struggling a bit, and the batting which underperformed both first and second innings.

Ollie Robinson bowled well on his Ashes debut, taking four wickets in the match

Ollie Robinson bowled well on his Ashes debut, taking four wickets in the match

The toss, I think, is more debatable. There is no doubt that there was enough movement on the first day to justify bowling first, definitely. But it wasn’t a 147 all out pitch. It was the type of pitch where you’d hope to scramble 260 or 270 and stay competitive in the game.

Had they got another 100 runs, and given where they were last night, again you can perhaps see a path to the advantage of bowling last. You can certainly decide that he could have done something different at the toss, but it wasn’t a 147 all out pitch, that’s for sure.

Remarkable effort by Lyon

As for Australia, Nathan Lyon got his 400th Test wicket after bowling pretty well on the third day without any reward. Obviously, he’s had that long wait for the 400th, which is a remarkable effort for a finger spinner in Australia.

Everybody says this is the country to bowl wrist spin, not finger spin and he’s now third for Australia behind Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. He’s right up there with the greats, I think he’s only the seventh spinner to reach that mark in Test cricket.

A fantastic achievement for him given that he’s not got some of the tricks that other off-spinners in that list had, I’m thinking of Murali and Harbhajan, Ravi Ashwin – they’ve all got a bit of mystery and a few tricks up their sleeve. Nathan Lyon is a fairly regulation off-spinner, albeit a very good one, he’s spins it hard and gets drip and drift and bounce.

Well done to him, but the guys who really took my eye was Cameron Green, who got Root out this morning and had a big impact there. He only took a couple of wickets and didn’t get any runs but as an all-rounder and a fifth bowler, he looks a big find to me for Australia.

He will ease the burden on those three big quicks. He bowls lively pace, gets bounce, he bowled a beauty to get Root today and I know he got nought, but he can obviously play. He looks a serious cricketer.

Travis Head was named player of the match for his 152 in Australia's first innings

Travis Head was named player of the match for his 152 in Australia’s first innings

Travis Head was player of the match for his century but the key partnership for Australia was Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, that really set it up because it meant by the time Head came in, England were a bit foot sore and a bit weary, the ball was old.

It was kind of tailor-made for him to counter-attack after England had taken five wickets either side of tea on the second day. He managed that on the back of some excellent batting from Warner and Labuschagne, but he did play well. He thumped the ball hard and put England under real pressure

I suspect that is the way he is going to try and play from here on in. He got the last place in the batting line-up over Usman Khawaja and it takes a lot of guts and courage to play like that when you’re not secure of your place in the side.



[ad_2]

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.