England ended their miserable tour of Australia just as they started it with a crushing victory inside three days. Australia romped to a 146 run victory to claim a series win 4-0.
Set 271 for victory, England reached 68 for 0, but then lost all ten wickets for 56 runs in Hobart. Nine wickets fell in the final session with England bowled out for 124.
Looked a good toss to win
On the opening day of the day/night test, Joe Root called correctly and had no hesitation on bowling first. On a very green looking surface England’s pace attack excelled as they reduced Australia to 12 for 3. David Warner and Steve Smith went for ducks off Ollie Robinson. Stuart Broad then picked up Usman Khawaja(6)- after scoring two centuries in the last test- to leave Australia in tatters.
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head counter attacked on the difficult pitch to get effect. However, England were kicking themselves when the prolific Labuschagne was dropped on nought. The pair added 71 before Broad bowled Labushagne(44) around his legs.
Wonderful century from Head
Despite this setback Australia continued their policy of taking the attack to England with Head and Cameron Green putting on 121. Head reached his century before next ball was bowled by Chris Woakes for 101.
Green went on to make 74 before pulling a delivery from Mark Wood to deep mid-wicket. When rain ended play early, Australia had reached a useful 241 for 6.
On the second day Australia added a further 67 runs for the last four wickets to be bowled out for 303. The ever persevering Broad finishing with 3 for 59 and Wood 3 for 115.
Another poor start from England
England’s reply got off to a disastrous start when Rory Burns was run out without scoring. Zak Crawley(18) was caught at short leg off Pat Cummins as England struggled against the pink ball.
The Australian captain then removed Dawid Malan(25) and Joe Root(34) to leave England on 81 for 4. Ben Stokes(4) didn’t last long before Nathan Lyon took a blinding catch at point to leave England tottering at 85 for 5.
It was down to debutant Sam Billings(29) and Woakes(36) who was dropped twice on 0 and 5 to see England to 188 all out. Cummins was the pick of the Australian attack, finishing with 4 for 45.
The visitors hit back
With a first innings lead of 115, England needed to strike early. They duly obliged by removing Warner(0) for a pair in the match. Woakes then had Labuschagne(5) caught behind to leave the hosts 5 for 2.
Khawaja(11) received a brute of a delivery from Wood as Australia closed on 37 for3, an overall lead of 152.
England, to their credit bowled well on the third day, dismissing Australia for 155 with Wood taking 6 for 37.
Set 271 for a consolation victory in the series openers Crawley and Burns got England off to the perfect start. The pair were going at over four an over before Burns(26) played on off Green.
Dismal batting the problem for England
Unfortunately the rest followed in just 22.5 overs. The truth of the matter is that England have been outplayed in the whole of this series by a far superior side. They have failed to post 300 in ten innings and haven’t posted 200 in six of those innings.
England’s winning run down under has now stretched to 15 tests. Overall, Root’s England side have won just one of their past 14 tests since last February.
There will no doubt be an inquest after this latest debacle. The fact of the matter is that England went into this series under prepared. Red ball cricket has never been prioritised in this country for a very long time. Heads may roll, but the problem remains in the amount of red ball cricket we should play, but don’t, and the scheduling of the county championship.