Five Ashes talking points as England suffers horror collapse on day one in Melbourne
The England Ashes’ nightmare continued in Melbourne as they were eliminated for just 185 games on day one of test three, before Australia reached the 61-1 fence
After losing the pitch and being batted under favorable conditions for the crimps, recalled opener Zak Crawley and underpressure Haseeb Hameed were immediately pushed into the line of fire.
And it only took Australia twice to make the breakthrough, with the return of Pat Cummins who mistook Hameed for a duck.
Crawley looked to be playing positively but only lasted 25 deliveries, getting caught in the ravine for 12 on a delivery from Cummins who found further rebound.
With England slipping to 13-2, Dawid Malan and Joe Root were once again tasked with stabilizing the ship.
They couldn’t get away with lunch unscathed, however, with Cummins catching Malan 14 points off what turned out to be the last bullet before lunch.
Root went on to pass 50, his third in the series so far, but he couldn’t keep going and convert it to a hundred, being left behind by Mitchell Starc.
Ben Stokes then fell to Cameron Green for 25, leaving England struggling at 115-5 with Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler in the crease.
Once again, England couldn’t see the final come to a close before the end of a session, with Buttler charging the wicket against Nathan Lyon and crushing a single grab straight into the middle of the deep wicket.
Bairstow did his best to try and guide England to a total of real significance but, after Mark Wood became Scott Boland’s first try-out wicket, he was fired by Starc for 35.
Jack Leach hit an excellent six off Lyon, dancing past the wicket and crushing it over his head, before slipping the Aussie spinner.
Ollie Robinson also played a few shots on his way to 22, before retreating to the depths of Lyon as England were knocked out for 185.
In response, Marcus Harris and David Warner were able to put together a fifty-point partnership, with Warner looking to attack the English bowlers.
James Anderson managed to make a breakthrough before the game was over, taking Warner into the ravine for 38.
Harris and night watchman Lyon were able to see Australia safely until the end of the game, having gone 61-1 and behind England by just 124 points.
Here are five talking points from the play of the day.
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Hameed makes England’s 50th duck
England chose to keep their faith in Hameed for this test, with Burns dropping out and being replaced by Crawley.
However, the 24-year-old was unable to return that faith on day one, registering a ten-ball duck and England’s 50th of the year.
After letting Starc’s opener complete, Hameed was forced to play on a Cummins ball and pushed it behind Carey.
It set the tone for a day which saw even more misery build up in the campaign of the ashes of England.
Cummins back with a bang
Having missed the second test in Adelaide after being seen as close contact with Covid, Cummins made his return to Melbourne in spectacular fashion.
Taking the new ball alongside Starc, the Aussie captain made early forays into the fragile England batting team, taking Hameed for nothing on his first try.
He went on to catch Crawley at the ravine for 12 with an excellent delivery, reducing England to 13-2.
After Malan and Root appeared to have stabilized things for England, Cummins pulled Malan out just before lunch for 14.
Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, former England bowler Steven Finn said: “His line has been impeccable. He has shown no signs of isolation for a week.”
The bad starts from England
Root has undoubtedly carried the England bat this year, with the England captain scoring more than 1,000 points more than England’s next leading scorer.
England have particularly struggled at the top of the order, with Burns, Hameed, Crawley and Dom Sibley all opening the stick at various points this year and only one of them averaging over 20.
Due to England’s first-rate troubles, Root was regularly forced to start his heats much earlier than he would have liked.
In fact, when he came on in Melbourne in the round of 16 with England 13-2, it was the 14th time in 27 innings this year that he has come to the crease in the first ten innings.
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The root’s wait for a continuous ton
Ahead of this match, Root confidently predicted that he would score his first Test 100 in Australia before the end of the series.
“I am convinced that in these next three games, I will be able to hit a hundred under these conditions,” he said.
“I feel really good with my stick. I know it’s a brave thing to say, but that conversion rate this year hasn’t been a problem at all.”
However, the England captain failed to reach the benchmark again, appearing to be heading into a third half-century in the series before frustrating Starc.
It was a familiar image for Root, who now holds the record for most unconverted in Australia by an English hitter with nine.
Root rose to third on the list for most tests in a calendar year, topping Graeme Smith’s tally of 1656, and he’ll need to score a ton in the second inning if he is to overtake Mohammad Yousuf and break the record.
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The historic beginnings of Boland
With Australia deciding not to risk the fitness of Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser, Boland made his test debut.
The 32-year-old became just the fourth native Australian to play Test cricket, following in the footsteps of Jason Gillespie, Ashleigh Gardner and Faith Thomas.
“It’s huge, Dizzy [Gillespie] was the first, but Australia has a rich history, 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, and it’s great that it’s starting to reflect on our team, ”Cummins said of Boland’s early days.
“It’s a dream to wear the Baggy Green, but a packed MCG, 70,000 gp, Boxing Day… it doesn’t get any better.”
Boland has an excellent record at the MCG and performed well without reward until he pinned Wood LBW.