A 50th duck of the year, another batting collapse and regaining the Ashes looking nothing but fantasy – things got even worse for England at the MCG; Australia seamer Scott Boland strikes on Test debut as home side dominate again
When you think it cannot get any worse for England, it does. All out for 185 in Melbourne as the Ashes continue to slip away. Here are the notables from another dismal day for the tourists…
SCORECARD | REPORT
THE KEY NOTES
– England rolled for 185 on day one of must-win third Ashes Test at MCG
– Joe Root top-scores with 50 but no other batter passes 35
– Haseeb Hameed bags second duck in a row
– Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon share six wickets
– Scott Boland takes wicket on Australia Test debut
– Australia close on 61-1, trailing England by just 124
– Hosts 2-0 up in series and will retain Ashes if they avoid defeat
The batting (again) which was below par (again) as England failed to post a substantial score (again). Root called for a response after the shellacking in Adelaide but did not get one.
That’s now 12 times in 2021 that Root’s side have been rolled for less than 200, with their highest first-innings score in this Ashes series the paltry 236 they put on the board in the pink-ball Test.
Root has been the beacon for England this year and following his half-century in Melbourne, he is now up to 1,680 Test runs for 2021 but he was one of the guilty parties on Boxing Day, throwing his wicket away by fishing outside off stump against Mitchell Starc after doing the hard work.
The same applied to two more senior men, in Ben Stokes (25) and Jos Buttler (3), who fell cheaply to Cameron Green and Nathan Lyon respectively. Buttler’s dismissal, caught in the deep after charging at Lyon in the over before tea, was particularly galling considering the value he put on his wicket in Adelaide a few days ago when his epic rearguard had fans dreaming of a draw that was, alas, not to be.
Root, for all his runs in 2021, has not been ruthless in this series with Sunday’s dismissal meaning he has failed to convert three fifties into something more significant, harking back to a problem he encountered a few years ago.
That will frustrate him, with the skipper confident he could “bang out” a hundred when he spoke to media before the MCG Test, and so will the fact England are not learning from their mistakes. Soft dismissal after soft dismissal is costing the tourists and tightening Australia’s grip on the urn.
STAT OF THE DAY
Hameed’s duck was the 50th England have suffered in Test cricket in 2021. They are now just four shy of matching the record 54 they bagged in 1998.
MOMENT OF THE DAY
It has to be Scott Boland’s first Test wicket.
At 32, the seamer was probably wondering whether he would ever add a red-ball appearance for his country to the 17 white-ball games he managed way back in 2016.
But the continued absence of Josh Hazlewood (side) and soreness for fellow seamers Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser gave Boland an Ashes opportunity on his home ground and 12 overs into his debut he hit the jackpot – or Mark Wood’s pad, to be precise.
Boland had to wait, firstly as umpire Paul Reiffel took his time raising his finger and then as Wood reviewed the lbw decision, but ultimately the seamer had his man with third umpire Rod Tucker deciding the ball, which was set to career into middle stump, had hit pad before bat.
Joy for Boland on the day he became just the fourth Indigenous Australian Test cricketer, after Jason Gillespie, Faith Thomas and Ashleigh Gardner. The burly paceman’s wicket delighting his team-mates – and not just the ones on the field.