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The Financial Express

England’s woes ahead of the Ashes

| Updated: September 20, 2021 16:59:17


Ashes 2019 - First Test - England v Australia - Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain - August 5, 2019 Australia players celebrate after winning the first test Action Images via Reuters Ashes 2019 - First Test - England v Australia - Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain - August 5, 2019 Australia players celebrate after winning the first test Action Images via Reuters

As the England Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the cancellation of 5th test between India and England in Manchester due to Covid-19, England face their 3rd straight test series loss.

This means they only won 4 out of 12 matches losing 6 and drawing 2. Maybe in a different year, it would not have bothered them too much.

But this year is a once in a 4 year occasion since the Ashes in Australia is less than 3 months away. And England will probably sail to Tasmania with the wind being against them more than ever. The latest series against India did anything but steady the ship.

England really were not allowed to breathe properly in the whole series. The list of injuries was immaculate to take - Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes. Mark Wood was also injured during the second game.

Archer and Stokes were not even included in the world T20 squad. Chris Woakes replaced him eventually. Their whole bowling line-up was absent except James Anderson who once again showed his class throughout the series. Robison, Overton and Curran along with Moeen, really provided strong support. But that was not enough eventually.

While they didn’t find many options to furnish their bowling attack, they couldn’t find any option to decorate their batting which throughout the year has been a catastrophe.

Joe Root, who has been enjoying the form of his career with 1398 runs at an average of 69.80 and 6 centuries, is now the highest run-scorer as a captain for England and 4th most as captain in a calendar year. The picture is not the same for others though.

England really struggled for a long time to find a perfect opening pair in tests. They paired Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed for the final two tests. The pair showed some promise with two 100+ partnerships in 4 innings.

Nobody could fit in their no. 3 position and middle order collapses were regular this year. The dismal scores of 45/6, 92/5, 53/6, 82/6, 69/7 are just from the last series. England’s fielding was also abysmal throughout the series. They missed 16 catches in the whole series that cost them big time.

With many players not likely to return due to injuries anytime soon and such a poor batting lineup, England are up for a daunting task against Australia. They only won once in the last 8 Ashes in Australia. Even the margin of losses were humiliating – 4-0, 5-0, 5-0, 4-1 

Australia are not doing much better in Tests either. But last time, a top of the game Steven Smith was enough to show England their way out of the series.

Meanwhile, England’s white-ball side is probably enjoying the best time ever with quite an opposite picture for their red-ball side. And if they do want to produce anything better than extraordinary against Australia in the next Ashes, they must sort out things quickly as the T20 World Cup is ahead.

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