Ashes 2021-22: Down but not out! Bairstow insists all is not lost after England toil against Australia

By Sports Desk December 26, 2021

Jonny Bairstow said England would face a "huge morning session" on day two of the third Test after Australia got off to a flying start in Melbourne.

Armed with a 2-0 series lead and needing only a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, Australia bowled out England for 185 and then raced to 61-1 at stumps.

The game could yet turn, but England cannot afford to allow Australia to build a big lead, after the one-sided nature of the previous contests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Captain Joe Root top-scored with 50 for England on Boxing Day, with Bairstow weighing in with 35, but the openers failed and tenacity was widely lacking as Australia picked up cheap wickets. Dawid Malan showed some grit but made just 14 runs, sharing in a stand of 48 with Root before becoming the third of Pat Cummins' three victims.

Root's innings gave him a ninth Test half-century in Australia, the most by a touring player in the country without having gone on to make a hundred.

Bairstow told the BBC's Test Match Special: "To lose the toss and get put in on a pitch that was doing plenty, I thought we grafted pretty well first up. Dawid and Joe put on another good partnership. We were really unfortunate to lose Dawid before lunch, otherwise that would have been a good session for us.

"We've seen there's a little more inconsistent bounce this evening. Marcus Harris got one on the glove and the following ball didn't carry through to the keeper. We'll be looking to exploit those areas in the morning; the morning session will be a huge session and let's see how we go."

Harris was left with a bleeding finger after being hit by a ball from Ben Stokes that bounced sharply. The Australia opener will resume alongside nightwatchman Nathan Lyon in the morning after James Anderson had David Warner caught for 38 by Zak Crawley shortly before the close.

Warner had been typically aggressive as he looked to compound England's misery, but a thick edge to Crawley at gully ended his assault.

"He was always looking to put pressure back on our bowlers. That's how he plays," Bairstow said. "He's scored runs in this series and previously, so it was a big boost to pick him up just before the end, and we'll come back in the morning, all guns blazing and ready to go."

Australia did not let Warner's wicket dampen their enjoyment of the day.

Captain Cummins and spinner Lyon both returned figures of 3-36, while Cameron Green and debutant Scott Boland chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Mitchell Starc removed Root and Bairstow as he took 2-54, and the paceman said on BT Sport: "It was quite a bit tacky underfoot and the spikes didn't really grab until that last session, so there was maybe not the air speed from us all today, but I thought we still bowled really well.

"We probably bowled a fraction fuller than England in that first session for them, and Pat was fantastic to get those first wickets and get us under way.

"Collectively, [bowling England out for] 185 is a pretty good day for us today."

Boland said it had been "a very special day", as the 32-year-old Melburnian made his Test bow and had a wicket – dismissing Mark Wood lbw – and two catches to show for it.

Starc was full of praise, saying: "It was awesome, the big Victorian here at his home ground to get his cap. He said he was quite nervous under a couple of those catches, but to get his first wicket at his home ground on the day of his debut was fantastic to see, and I think that might just calm him down for the second innings."

Related items

  • Shastri urges BCCI to give pace sensation Malik central contract 'straightaway' Shastri urges BCCI to give pace sensation Malik central contract 'straightaway'

    Ravi Shastri has urged the BCCI to give Umran Malik a central contract with India "straightaway" and says the paceman will be a "handful" in red-ball cricket.

    Malik has taken the 2022 Indian Premier League by storm, claiming 21 wickets at an average of 20 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    The 22-year-old clocked the fastest ball in this year's tournament with a delivery that registered 156.9 kilometres per hour on the speed gun against Delhi Capitals this month.

    Malik rattled India captain Rohit Sharma on the helmet and took 3-23 to make another huge statement in Sunrisers' win over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.

    He became the youngest Indian to take 20 wickets in an IPL season with his latest exhibition of explosive pace bowling.

    Former India head coach Shastri wants to see the rapid Malik in Rohit's pace attack on the international stage in the near future.

    "Central contract straightaway," Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time Out.

    "And keep him in the mix, don't let him float around. Keep him in the mix with the main players and then he learns seeing (and) being around with the [Mohammed] Shamis and the [Jasprit] Bumrahs, and see the way they train, see the way they manage their workload.

    "Of course, there'll be the team management there, support staff, that'll help him do that, but don't let him stray at the moment. Get him into the mix, and keep him there and groom him."

    Shastri says the quick will be even more potent when he learns to bowl with more control.

    He said: "He'll get better and better. You see his bowling once he takes a wicket. Look at the lines he starts bowling as opposed to when he has not got a wicket – that's when he is trying everything, his lines are all over the place.

    "You don't want him to cut down on pace. The last thing you would tell him looking for control, cut down on pace. What you want him to do is get his lines right: if he can bowl that stump line, attack the stumps on a constant basis, varying his lengths, he will trouble [batters].

    "If he gets a wicket and new guy comes in, he can really rattle him because he has got the pace, he can keep the bloke on his toes, but it's that line - if he gets into that channel, without cutting his pace it will make a huge difference."

    Shastri says Malik can provide a new dimension to the India Test attack.

    "I promise you, this guy is going to be a handful in red-ball cricket. Handful, really. If he is part of an Indian pace battery that has Bumrah, Shami, you add this bloke in, a fourth guy, it's going to be a serious attack," he added.

  • Key backs Mott and Morgan to mastermind more white-ball glory for England Key backs Mott and Morgan to mastermind more white-ball glory for England

    Rob Key is confident Matthew Mott and Eoin Morgan will form a "formidable partnership" to ensure England mount strong challenges for more trophies.

    Mott was on Wednesday confirmed as England's new white-ball head coach, signing a four-year deal.

    The 49-year-old had been in charge of the Australia women's team since 2015, overseeing consecutive T20 World Cup triumphs and guiding them to 50-Over World Cup glory this year.

    Mott helped Australia win a record 26 consecutive ODIs, while he has had success as head coach of New South Wales and been in charge at Glamorgan.

    England will head to India next year to try and retain their 50-over World Cup title and should be strong contenders at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

    Key is confident Mott is the right man to give England every chance of further success.

    The managing director of England's men's cricket said: "It is a real privilege to be able to announce Mathew Mott as the head coach of our men's white-ball team.

    "He has had an incredible coaching journey with so many varied experiences that have brought him to this point where he was outstanding in the interview process and the perfect fit for our white-ball teams.

    "We are lucky to be able to appoint a head coach that has not only been involved in international cricket for the last few years but he has also worked in franchise cricket around the world. More importantly, what he has done with the Australian women's team is what will be asked of him to achieve for our men's white-ball sides.

    "I'm confident that in Eoin Morgan and Matthew Mott, we have a formidable partnership that can push for more trophies in the coming years and that Matthew will be able to oversee any transition that team will go through in the future. 

    "Furthermore, Matthew will also help us invest in English coaches getting them as much experience as possible over the next few years."

  • England recall Anderson and Broad, uncapped Brook and Potts in squad to face New Zealand England recall Anderson and Broad, uncapped Brook and Potts in squad to face New Zealand

    James Anderson and Stuart Broad have recalled for England’s Test series against Zealand, while uncapped duo Harry Brook and Matty Potts were named in the squad on Wednesday.

    Broad and Anderson were omitted for the 1-0 series defeat against West Indies in the Caribbean following the 4-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.

    But the experienced seam duo are in the first squad under new captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, with the opening match of the series against the Black Caps starting at Lord's on June 2.

    Yorkshire batter Brook and Durham paceman Potts have been handed maiden call-ups after impressive starts to the County Championship seamer.

    Brook, who made his T20 debut for England in the Caribbean earlier this year, has an incredible average of 151.60 in the County Championship this season, while Potts is the leading wicket-taker with 35 and claimed 7-40 in a win over Glamorgan last time out.

    With former captain Joe Root batting at number four, Ollie Pope is set to come in at number three in the order.

    "This is the start of a new era for our Test team under the stewardship of Ben and Brendon," managing director of men’s cricket Rob Key stated.

    "With a blend of youth and experience, we have selected an exciting squad that can compete with New Zealand in next month's Test series.

    "We have rewarded players in Harry Brook and Matty Potts who have had outstanding starts to the County season, and they deserve the opportunity to stake a claim at this level.

    "It promises to be a mouthwatering series, and I can't wait for the team to start against a very good New Zealand side.

    "It is a fascinating prospect for everyone connected with the sport in this country."

    England Test Squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook,, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Matty Potts, Ollie Pope, Joe Root.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.