‘Pa­thetic’ Eng­land cede Test ad­van­tage – Boy­cott

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

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

GETTY IM­AGES

PACE TO BURN: Mitchell John­son’s four wick­ets in Bris­bane yes­ter­day helped Aus­tralia take con­trol of the first Test.

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