England loses another Ashes Test in a humiliating fashion and will have to wait another two years to fight for the Urn. The side last won a Test in Australia back in 2010-2011, and have struggled to compete since then. In the Melbourne Test, England did have a few moments where they could have made the Australian’s sweat, but the batting continued to let them down.
In 2017, England had a few good innings, but a string of mid or late innings collapses let them down, along with their bowling. In 2013, The Australian bowling attack was relentless, but the batters still managed to put up decent fights, and get scores. This time around though, the batters have continuously struggled to get going. The openers couldn’t string a partnership, and dependency on Root and Malan left England on the verge of a collapse each innings.
Ben Stokes, coming back from injury and a mental break left him a little rusty throughout the tour. He is considered the superman of the English Cricket team, but to do superhuman stuff coming back from a break is a little too much even for Ben Stokes. Stokes did manage to bowl decently, being among the faster bowlers, along with Mark Wood. However, his batting wasn’t good enough, as Stokes didn’t make much of a significant score. He still has two Tests, and will be eager to make some contribution as England look to salvage some of their pride.
The young group of Hameed, Crawley, and Ollie Pope had some issues as well. While Crawley only played one Test, the other two got a little more time in the series, and their confidence could be dented as they struggled to score runs.
The struggle for the youngsters made England go back to Jonny Bairstow, who did look decent in the first innings. He was better than the other options, and could be given another go in the series, along with Jos Buttler. Buttler had a mixed Ashes this time around. He dropped some straightforward catches, which let the Australians get away, and held on to some stunners.
His batting was as good as the others, barring Malan and Root, but he did have a significant role in keeping England in the hunt at Adelaide. However, his poor series may put him under the scanner. Known for his white-ball exploits, Buttler faces a lot of scrutiny for his white-ball numbers, and he could face the axe after his Ashes performance. With Bairstow in the squad, there is always a possibility for a change in keeper.
Barring Root and Malan, if anyone is to be appreciated it is the bowling attack. Jake Leach was flayed all over the ground in Brisbane, and his struggle made Root bowl more overs, and the pacers bowl longer spells. Leach was attacked well, but he still did a decent job coming back in Melbourne. Ollie Robinson showed that he can bowl on Australian pitches, despite the lack of pace. He bowled with a lot of heart, and had some testing spells, while Chris Woakes struggled.
Ben Stokes did a pretty decent job with the ball as well. Being the second fastest bowler in the side, he used his pace well to deploy the short-ball tactic, and bowled with a lot of heart. Stuart Broad has only got one Test so far, and will be eager to get back on the field. For England though, the pick of the bowlers throughout the Ashes were two pacers with varying skills.
Mark Wood is the only pacer who survived through among the array of high pace, fast bowlers England looked to unleash on Australia. With Jofra Archer and Olly Stone injured, Wood shouldered the responsibility well, and found ways to put Australia on the back foot with some aggressive pace. The other pacer who was pretty good through the Ashes is the old warhorse, James Anderson.
Anderson was one of the best bowlers in the famous 2010-2011 tour, Alastair Cook and Joe Root’s savior in 2013 and 2017, and continues to be England’s savior as the side struggles to win Tests in Australia. Anderson sat out of the Gabba Test, but played in Adelaide and Melbourne. In Melbourne, he put up some brilliant spells, and kept his side in the game, as the batting failed again. With four wickets, Anderson removed a key part of Australia’s batting line-up, and tried to keep his side alive in what could be his last fight on Australian soil.
It’s been 12 days of Cricket, and the Urn is gone, with only a few bright spots for England. The bowling attack seems to have improved with the burden a little less on James Anderson, but a lot still relying on the 39-year-old. They still have two Tests, which could feel like a lot, but will have to find a way to stand-up and fight, as they try to get their first win on Australian soil.