Ashes 2021-22: England under pressure to emerge from the shadows in day-night Test

By Sports Desk December 14, 2021

Australia have a 100 per cent record in day-night Tests and another victory at Adelaide Oval will leave England's hopes of regaining the Ashes hanging by a thread.

The tourists made a nightmare start to the series at the Gabba, slumping to a nine-wicket defeat after Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first on a green pitch under cloudy skies.

England were rolled over for only 147 on day one in Brisbane after Rory Burns lost his off stump to the first ball of the match from Mitchell Starc.

Captain Root (89) and Dawid Malan (82) showed some resistance in the second innings after Travis Head had made the third-fastest Ashes century, but another collapse left Australia with the straightforward task of chasing 20 to go 1-0 up.

Pat Cummins could not have wished for a much better start to his reign as Test skipper, taking 5-38 on the opening day as England crumbled meekly.

The Australia attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of doing more damage with the pink ball in Adelaide, where they will be hunting what would be a sixth win in seven matches in the longest format in Adelaide.

No side has a better record than Australia's eight out of eight in day-night Tests, while England have lost three day-nighters out of four and their only victory was against West Indies in 2017.

Stats Perform looks at some of the selection issues both sides will be weighing up and picks out where the second Test, which starts on Thursday, could be won and lost.

Anderson and Broad to shine under the lights?

Eyebrows were raised in the Australia camp and far beyond when both James Anderson and Stuart Broad were left out for the first Test.

With 1,156 Test wickets between them, the pace-bowling stalwarts would have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of racing in at the start of the series but watched on as Australia's bowlers had a field day.

Broad should be back in for his 150th Test and Anderson will surely return under the lights.

The selectors face a tough call when deciding who to leave out as Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes came out the first Test with credit, while spinner Jack Leach endured a chastening start to the series.

 

Hazlewood injury forces Australia into at least one change

Australia will be without Josh Hazlewood after he suffered a side strain in Brisbane and Jhye Richardson is the favourite to replace him.

Hazlewood took 5-8 when Australia bowled India out for an embarrassing 36 last December, but either Richardson or Michael Neser will get a chance to exploit England's vulnerability with the bat.

Richardson has taken 23 wickets in four Sheffield Shield matches this season at an average of 13.43 and looks primed to make his Ashes bow in what would be his third Test.

Australia are hopeful David Warner is fit to open after he took a couple of blows to the ribs in the opening Test.

Related items

  • Rennie lays into Australia after Pumas hammering Rennie lays into Australia after Pumas hammering

    Dave Rennie pulled no punches as he labelled Australia's 48-17 Rugby Championship hammering at the hands of Argentina as a "massive disappointment" and "not good enough".

    The depleted Wallabies were without a host of players including fly-half Quade Cooper, who damaged his Achilles in the opening-round win over the Pumas last weekend.

    Even accounting for the absentees, Australia were still pre-match favourites but were completely outclassed in San Juan as Argentina ran in seven tries.

    It represented the Pumas' biggest ever win over Australia and moved them top of the standings after two games.

    Speaking to Stan Sports after the game, New Zealander Rennie made no excuses for his side's poor performance.

    "Massive disappointment. That's not good enough," Rennie said.

    "We would [like to have a consistent team list] but we had a good enough side to do the job

    "We gave them a few soft points early on and fought our way back into it. We have to do better and we'll get a few players back. Whoever puts the jersey on has to front up but we weren't good enough.

    "We conceded four tries with kicks in between us and got dominated in the collision area. We created plenty of opportunities but we have to be patient and our rucks not a disaster.

    "We just weren't clinical enough. We definitely lacked cohesion with a few changes. We'll look at the footage but we're better than that."

    Australia will look to rebound when they host South Africa in Adelaide on August 27.

  • Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea

    Thomas Tuchel has backed Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fight their way into first-team contention at Chelsea. 

    However, the Blues boss was philosophical when asked whether either England international could leave in the transfer window, adding: "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale."

    Gallagher appeared as a late substitute in Chelsea's opening-day Premier League win over Everton last week, while Hudson-Odoi was absent from the Blues' squad at Goodison Park.

    Both players have been linked with moves away due to the competition for places at Stamford Bridge, with Hudson-Odoi a reported target for Borussia Dortmund and Gallagher widely admired after racking up eight Premier League goals and three assists on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

    While Tuchel recognises N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic represent stern competition for Gallagher, he wants to see him realise his undoubted promise at Chelsea.

    "Conor fights in central midfield," Tuchel said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham. "To be honest, it is a very tough fight for him because, at the moment, it seems we only have two places in central midfield. 

    "Given the amount of players we have for central midfield, it isn't ideal, I agree. But we have to do what's best for the squad, not just for each individual player.

    "But at the moment, he is absolutely fine. I am a huge fan of Conor. He is a fantastic guy, and this is what we already knew, in the first weeks of training, he has shown how much of a step he has made through having so much playing time.

    "It is a very, very normal situation and his development is that at the moment, after some fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there is a little dip in his form and freshness. 

    "On top of that, there's a huge competition with N'Golo, Jorgi and Kova, who are used to playing with each other. 

    "This is also life in a big club like Chelsea, so everything is in its right place. We are happy with him. He keeps on fighting, and this is what he does. I think he has everything to become very important in the next years at Chelsea."

    Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga on several occasions, having only started 32 Premier League games for Chelsea since his 2018 debut, but Tuchel is also keen to hold onto him.

    "Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome," Tuchel said. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. 

    "I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. 

    "But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."

    But with over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Tuchel refused to rule out a change in the club's strategy.

    "In general, nobody is for sale,", Tuchel added. "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale. 

    "It depends on what the player wants, how bad the player wants it, what we think about who is ready to pay a certain amount of money, and then maybe everybody is for sale."

  • Premier League data dive: Man Utd hit 30-year low as outstanding Jesus downs Foxes Premier League data dive: Man Utd hit 30-year low as outstanding Jesus downs Foxes

    The second Saturday of the new Premier League campaign did not disappoint, serving up a thrilling comeback, a spectacular home debut and a familiar sinking feeling for Manchester United supporters.

    If last week's 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion represented a baptism of fire for Erik ten Hag, United's trip to Brentford provided further despair as the dismal Red Devils hit a 30-year low.

    There was more joy for rivals Manchester City as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, while Gabriel Jesus made good on his pre-season promise with a dominant performance against Leicester City.

    Here, Stats Perform trawls through Opta's data to bring you some of the best numbers from the day's Premier League action.

    Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: Ten Hag matches unwanted Chapman record against brilliant Bees

    Where do you start with this one? New United boss Ten Hag was left in no doubt regarding the side's problems when a Pascal Gross double sent them crashing to an opening-day defeat last week.

    But not even the most pessimistic United follower could have predicted their collapse in west London, as Ten Hag became the first Red Devils manager to lose his first two games at the helm since John Chapman in November 1921.

    Things got off to a dreadful start when David de Gea let Josh Dasilva's shot squirm into the net after 10 minutes; since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Jordan Pickford (11) has made more errors leading to Premier League goals than the Spaniard.

    Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo joined Dasilva on the scoresheet by the 35th minute as Brentford scored with their first four shots on target, while Cristiano Ronaldo cut a dejected figure on his return to the United team.

    Only two teams had previously scored four first-half goals against United in a Premier League game; Tottenham in October 2020 and Liverpool in October 2021.

    The result is that United have begun a top-flight campaign with back-to-back defeats for the first time since 1992-93, the Premier League's inaugural season.

    And while the table has not quite taken shape two games in, United ended the day bottom of the Premier League for the first time since August 21, 1992.

    Arsenal 4-2 Leicester City: Miraculous home debut for Jesus

    Another side with Champions League ambitions has made a far brighter start to the Premier League season, as Mikel Arteta's Arsenal made it two consecutive wins with an entertaining victory over Leicester.

    Former Manchester City forward Jesus was hailed as a coup for the Gunners when he arrived in the off-season, and he enjoyed a home debut to remember by scoring two goals and adding two assists.

    In doing so, the Brazilian became the first player to score multiple goals on his home Premier League bow for Arsenal, as well as the first Gunners player to double up for goals and assists in a single league game since Theo Walcott against Newcastle in December 2012 (three goals, two assists).

    Before Jesus assisted compatriot Gabriel Martinelli for Arsenal's fourth goal, he became the 12th different Brazilian to score in the Premier League for Arsenal – the most of any side in the competition's history.

    Jesus was not the only player to impress, however, with Granit Xhaka both scoring and assisting in the same match for the first time in an Arsenal shirt, 252 games into his Gunners career.

    Leicester, meanwhile, were subjected to a familiar feeling of frustration in north London – this was the sixth time they have conceded at least four goals in a Premier League game against Arsenal.

    Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth: Champions cruise despite quiet day for Haaland

    Home teams hitting four goals seemed to be a theme of the day, as Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions followed up a win at West Ham by cruising past Bournemouth.

    Scott Parker's team were likely not expecting a result at the Etihad Stadium; City have now won all 11 of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, the best 100 per cent winning record against a particular team in the competition's history.

    A Jefferson Lerma own goal came after strikes from Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, as the Cherries made it 17 league matches without a win against City in their history – the most one side has faced another without a victory in English league history.

    Kevin De Bruyne was at his creative best for City, scoring his 16th league goal since the start of last season before teeing up Foden's strike.

    The Belgian has both scored and assisted in 20 separate Premier League matches since his September 2015 debut. Only Mohamed Salah (24) and Son Heung-min (21) have done so on more occasions in that time.

    But while City were rampant, new talisman Haaland was quiet. The Norwegian only managed eight touches and two successful passes, but still managed to make an impact.

    One of Haaland's passes was from kick-off, the other teed up Gundogan to score the first goal.

    Southampton 2-2 Leeds United: Saints manage rare comeback as Aribo opens account

    Elsewhere, Jesse Marsch's Leeds failed to make it two wins from two as Southampton launched a stirring comeback on the south coast.

    Rodrigo was on the scoresheet in a win over Wolves last week before hitting a brace at St Marys, making him the first player to score three goals in Leeds' first two games of a Premier League season since Alan Smith in 2000-01.

    But Leeds could not hold on, failing to win after going two goals ahead for only the second time in their last 36 Premier League games, and for the first time in 14 such contests (since a 3-3 draw with Charlton Athletic in May 2004).

    Southampton have now avoided defeat in two of the last five Premier League games where they have gone two goals down (also a 2-2 draw against Brighton in April), but their love of a comeback is a new characteristic.

    Before April, the Saints had only managed one win and one draw from the last 58 Premier League games in which they went two goals behind.

    Joe Aribo represents one of their most impressive additions following his arrival from Rangers, and his goal made him the first Nigerian to score in the Premier League for Southampton, as well as the 38th in the competition's history overall.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.