Former England captain Nasser Hussain said that England’s batting collapses have been happening for a very long time. Hussain’s comments come after England were consigned to a nine-wicket defeat in the first Ashes Test at The Gabba.
The tourists began the day on 220/2 as Dawid Malan and Joe Root tried to continue their fightback. But Malan’s dismissal by Nathan Lyon triggered a collapse which led to England ending at 297 all out, with Australia needing just 20 runs to secure a comfortable win.
“England fans, however much our bowling carries us over the years, will know over the last two or three years that the batting has disappointed and these collapses have happened. It does seem to me that England’s batting line-up struggles to start the next day. It (Australia’s) is a wonderful bowling attack, make no mistake. They have five genuine bowlers. It is not easy against this attack,” said Hussain on Sky Sports.
“This game was not lost today; this game was lost with the dropped catches and the fielding and most importantly 147 all out on day one. England have had batting collapses for a long, long time now. (Joe) Root has been their star player for a number of years now. I think this year he is the only one to average over 40. I think Root and Malan are the only ones averaging over 30, I think Root and (Rory) Burns are the only ones with Test hundreds. That is not good enough, that is not going to win you that many Test matches,” added Hussain, who played 96 Tests for England.
Hussain expressed confidence in all-rounder Ben Stokes, who made a comeback to competitive cricket after taking a break in July, to come good in the upcoming matches of the Ashes.
“Stokes always takes time when he has had a long spell out of the side — and he has. He is someone who needs rhythm to batting.”
With England 1-0 down in the five-match series, they don’t have much time to ponder over what went wrong as the second Test in Adelaide starts from December 16. The 53-year-old thinks England can bounce back in the pink-ball Test, but admitted that they will have selection conundrums in mind.
“I think the key is not to look back too much. Focus in on the next one, work out what you are doing with that bowling attack and the seam attack in particular. Because it is not easy, people will say bring (Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson in. But the bowlers that have been bowling have now got overs in their legs. So they are the best ones physically to go and play the next one.
“Broad and Anderson haven’t bowled in anger in a match for months now and their ageing bodies, can you get them both in? I’d go with Anderson for the swing. And then what do they do with (Jack) Leach? All this talk about pink ball in Adelaide. Yes under lights it can swing but the rest of the day it can be pretty flat and it can spin. So you might need your spinner.”
Hussain concluded by saying that England need to adopt optimistic mindset for the Adelaide Test.