‘Pathetic’ England cede Test advantage – Boycott
ENGLAND have “given the first Test away” after a shambolic first innings collapse against Australia in Brisbane yesterday, according to former opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott.
After delighting in Stuart Broad’s superb bowling performance which gave England the upper hand on the first day of the Ashes series on Thursday, England fans at home woke up yesterday to discover they had been bowled out for 136.
A mid-afternoon collapse, in which England lost six wickets for nine runs, allowed Australia to seize control, moving 224 runs ahead with all their second innings wickets intact.
“It’s been decent bowling by Australia, but the batting has been pathetic,” Boycott, commentating for BBC radio, said of the day’s play at the Gabba, which began with Australia’s first innings being wrapped up for 285.
“They’ve played some poor shots. The problem is we’ve seen it all before. It’s very sad to see them almost give away the Test match like this.
“It will take a dramatic performance to bowl Australia out and then produce a batting display with no mistakes. They’ve just about gifted the match to Australia.”
Boycott also accused England’s batsmen of playing Australian offspinner Nathan Lyon as if he were bowling down “hand grenades” after he took two wickets.
England spinner Graeme Swann summed up the mood in the camp when he said on Twitter “On a scale of one to ten that day at the Gabba was a minus six #howler”.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, also watching the carnage from the safety of the commentary box, applauded pace bowler Mitchell Johnson’s spell of four for 61.
“What we saw today was quick bowling at its best. Mitchell Johnson changed the course of the match, as did Ryan Harris (who claimed two wickets),” Vaughan, who captained England to their 2005 home Ashes victory over Australia, said.
“For the first time, questions are being asked about (Jonathan) Trott against pace. Mitchell Johnson roughed him up and his feet were all over the place.”
Despite it being a poor day for England, however, Vaughan said it summed up the magic of Test cricket.
“The roar of a crowd... bouncy pitch. 90mph bowling... no matter who you support, today was a great day for TEST cricket...” Vaughan added on Twitter.
“Mitch has been bowling with some very good pace over the last few months,” Australia vice-captain Brad Haddin told a news conference.
“He was outstanding in India with his pace. Today was just reward for the work he’s put in. Good to have him back in the team and it’s always good having those guys who can push the gun up near 150km/h.
“Any guy who can push the radar up near 150ks, no matter how well you’re playing, can make it uncomfortable for the opposition.”
Three years ago at the Gabba, Johnson went for 170 runs without a wicket against England and was dropped for the second Test in Adelaide. He stormed back in the third at the WACA, taking 6/38 in the first innings as England were bowled out for 187 and adding three more wickets in the second innings to help Australia to victory – their last against England.
Yesterday, Johnson did not get nearly as much movement on the ball as at Perth back in 2010 but, after coach Craig McDermott had read the bowlers the riot act at lunch, played the leading role in England’s collapse from 82/2 to 89/7 in little over half an hour.
“Mitchell is a world- class performer. In terms of pace, he definitely would be up there with some of the quickies I’ve faced in my time,” said England opener Michael Carberry, Johnson’s second victim of the day.
“More importantly, he put the ball in the right area, which is also going to be tough. In our preparations, we knew what he was going to bring but we weren’t quite up to it today.” – Reuters
PACE TO BURN: Mitchell Johnson’s four wickets in Brisbane yesterday helped Australia take control of the first Test.