Former England cricketer David Lloyd believes that captain Joe Root’s decision to give the ball to left-arm spinner Jack Leach at the start of the second session released the pressure on Australia.
Lloyd’s comments come after Root deployed Leach to begin the post-lunch proceedings for an hour and with no fielders around the bat, leaving everyone bewildered as England didn’t start off with their pacers after reducing Australia to 110/4 in the morning session.
“But I didn’t understand the first hour after lunch on the second day. England were reeling Australia in but Joe Root put Jack Leach on and it just released the pressure. He went for three an over and you could just sense the batters thinking ‘this is a Christmas present.’ It was a mistake not to have a good burst at them after the break. The Test just drifted,” Lloyd was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
Former England captain Michael Atherton had said on SEN Radio that he couldn’t make sense of why Root began with Leach. “I found it very odd that Jack Leach bowled immediately after lunch for an hour. He would have been last on my list. You had to start with your seamers. If you did bowl him, it had to be in a more attacking vain.”
Further talking about the happenings on the second day, Lloyd praised James Anderson for his vintage spell of 4/31, which are also the second-best figures for the veteran pacer in Australia.
“Heroic effort from England’s bowlers led once again by Jimmy Anderson. The quality of the old boy is shining through once more and they can’t play a shot against him. All the quicker bowlers are holding sway and it seems to be uneven bounce that’s doing the trick. It’s going to be a quick Test, that’s for sure.”
Lloyd thought batters from both sides have to display more patience on the Melbourne pitch. “Looking at the replays it’s striking the number of players on both sides being caught on the crease with their bat way out in front of them. This is a pitch that’s doing a bit so they should be really careful and play as late as possible. Instead, they were guilty of going so hard at the ball. The slip catchers are saying ‘thanks very much.'”
The 74-year-old, who recently left Sky Sports after commentating on cricket for 22 years, signed off by giving legendary India batter Sachin Tendulkar as an example for today’s batters in Test cricket. “It reminds me of watching Sachin Tendulkar a few years back. He stayed behind for half an hour after an India practice and got someone throwing the ball quickly at him. The Little Master just dead batted every ball, playing it so softly it died and didn’t touch the net on either side. It was a real lesson in what today’s players should be doing.”