Time’s up for bad-team bully Joe Root. How about Captain Broad? | Tim de Lisle

Andrew Strauss reset England’s white-ball team successfully; now he should dismiss Chris Silverwood and find a new Test leader

Seven weeks ago, at the start of the Ashes, Joe Root made a strikingly clear statement. “Of course it will define my captaincy,” he said. “I’m not naive enough to think that it won’t.”

He was right and there’s no wriggling out of it now. To lose one Ashes series 4-0 may be regarded as a misfortune, as long as the captain is inexperienced. To lose two that heavily, when you have been in charge for more Tests than any other England captain, looks like a reason to resign.

Continue reading...

Ben Stokes set to join England captain Joe Root in missing this year’s IPL

  • All-rounder featured in last four seasons of T20 tournament
  • He also decides to skip auction following gruelling Ashes tour

Ben Stokes is set to join Joe Root in making himself unavailable for this year’s Indian Premier League auction following England’s Ashes defeat in Australia. The all-rounder has featured in the last four seasons of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, playing for the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant franchise on a £1.7m deal in 2017 – and winning the MVP award – before joining Rajasthan Royals the following year for £1.3m.

Stokes was released by the Royals after missing the bulk of last year’s campaign through injury, but as a fast bowling all-rounder he was expected to attract another bumper contract when the world’s best players go under the hammer on 12 and 13 February. However, amid an ever-crunched international schedule made even more gruelling by the pandemic, and having only returned from a four-month break to address a finger injury and his mental health before the recent Ashes campaign, the 30-year-old is understood not to have registered his name for 2022.

Continue reading...

England are collapse specialists but Hobart ignominy sets new low | Tanya Aldred

Rory Burns and Zak Crawley put on England’s first opening stand of more than 50 in the series before old failings returned

At least it was quick. The final ignominy over in less than two hours, from Rory Burns to Ollie Robinson with barely time for a scratch and a sniff: 10 wickets for 56 runs in 22 overs. Out of a paper bag into the ashes.

It was Mark Wood’s face that said it all. He’d just produced the best bowling of his Test career, six for 37, a high-class bouncefest to haul England back into the match by their gammy toenails, short-pitched menace with a smile, hurling that woodchip body into the unwilling Tasmanian ground. Reward at last for seven weeks of wholehearted toil. Yet there he was, less than four hours later, plodding off the Bellerive Oval, the ninth wicket to fall in an innings of sorrows, dragging on after slapping Pat Cummins for a couple of fours over extra-cover – just for the lols. Helmet off, mouth set, eyes empty, head down, homeward he trod. This tour has sapped even Wood’s joie de vivre – an achievement, of sorts.

Continue reading...

Joe Root insists he would ‘love to turn things around’ as England captain – video

Joe Root says he wants the opportunity to stay on in his role and that his team are going through a 'real tough stage'. Speaking after the final Ashes test, Root admitted that England had not 'given a fair account' of themselves and said 'Australia are a better team'. 

Australia won the final test by 146 runs, winning the Ashes 4-0.

Continue reading...

Joe Root wants to lead England into new era despite final Ashes humiliation

  • England’s latest collapse leads to 4-0 defeat to Australia
  • Root: ‘I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward’

Joe Root has declared himself ready to lead England’s Test team into a new and potentially more successful era after their latest miserable collapse saw them lose all 10 wickets for 56 runs under the Hobart floodlights to surrender the fifth Test and conclude a one-sided Ashes series with a final act that skirted the border between tragedy and farce.

“I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward and turn things round,” said Root, who has now won 27 of 61 matches as captain over four and a half years. “At the minute we’re going through a real tough period. Performances haven’t been good. But I believe I’m the right man to take this team forward. If that decision is taken out of my hands then so be it, but I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward, and yes I do have the appetite to carry on and turn things around.”

Continue reading...

‘I absolutely loved it’: Sam Billings upbeat about batting debut despite England struggle – video

England endured another difficult day of Ashes cricket after disappointing with the bat once again, but the debutant Sam Billings has 'loved every minute' of his unexpected chance.

Billings was preparing to leave Australia after a stint with Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League when injuries to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow led to him being drafted in as emergency cover. He duly swapped a flight home for the chance of a Test debut and has thrown himself into the challenge, scoring a lively 29.

Continue reading...

Ollie Pope’s repeated mistakes show England cricket’s state of confusion | Andy Bull

Questions should be asked why young batter widely considered best on the circuit is making same mistakes he did as a rookie

August 2018 and England are playing India in the third Test at Trent Bridge. They are losing, 32 for two in the fourth innings and 489 runs behind. Joe Root is in, batting with the team’s latest call-up, Ollie Pope. Pope had made his debut at Lord’s the week before, when he became their youngest middle-order batsman since Denis Compton, 70 years earlier.

Here, he hits his first ball through cover for one four and his third through gully for another. Handsome shots, but they betray a vulnerability, too. India’s bowlers hold that line outside off stump and, soon enough, he edges a catch to third slip for 16.

Continue reading...

‘I absolutely loved it’: Sam Billings upbeat over debut amid England’s toils

  • Billings keeps spirits up after sprightly 29 in first innings
  • ‘Positivity and energy is something that comes naturally to me’

England endured another difficult day of Ashes cricket after disappointing with the bat once again, but the debutant Sam Billings has “loved every minute” of his unexpected chance.

Billings was preparing to leave Australia after a stint with Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League when injuries to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow led to him being drafted in as emergency cover. He duly swapped a flight home for the chance of a Test debut and has thrown himself into the challenge of trading blows with clearly superior opponents.

Continue reading...

England’s creaking bowling attack lets Australia off the Ashes hook | Andy Bull

Having reduced Australia to 12 for three, the tourists ended up using a part-time spinner in ideal conditions for seam bowling

According to reports, the England team took a charter flight to Hobart. Watching them play on the first day at the Bellerive Oval it looked more like they had travelled by ancient sailing bark, and arrived, like Abel Tasman, soiled, sore, and ship-worn, half-starved after six months picking weevils out of biscuits. Battered, cut, and bruised, suffering from strains, niggles, aches and breakdowns, a loss of form, and a lack of faith. Between the 11 of them it felt like if you cherry-picked the best bits from each they could just about cobble together one fit, functioning, and happy Test cricketer.

The record books show this is the shortest Ashes tour the team have ever taken, but from the look of them, it must be starting to feel like it’s dragged on awfully long.

Continue reading...

Mitchell Starc ‘not looking for a break’ with selectors to make final Ashes Test call

  • ‘Hopefully it’s not my turn to rest,’ says Australian fast bowler
  • Paceman says he is feeling good ahead of day-nighter in Hobart

Mitchell Starc feels physically ready to play all five Tests this summer, declaring it will purely be the selectors’ call if he misses the Hobart series finale. Selectors and medical staff will cast an eye over Australian’s training session on Wednesday night before forming a stronger view on what their attack should look like in the final Test.

Scott Boland is nursing sore ribs because of his tumble on the SCG pitch, putting the Victorian at risk of missing the day-night Test that begins on Friday. There is speculation Starc could sit out the match because of workload concerns, but it would be a bold call given he is the world’s all-time leading wicket-taker in day-night Tests.

Continue reading...

The last-ditch, non-result, dead-rubber draw: there’s nothing like this | Barney Ronay

How to explain the denouement of this supposedly dead-rubber Test? Try this: life moves pretty fast, but the clocks stopped on day five at the SCG

OK: blank sheet of thought-scap. How do we root‑and‑branch this? What are the bite‑ables here? What, exactly, do our targeted people units want more of? When the England and Wales Cricket Board’s inevitable Ashes review gets round to the glorious oddity of day five of the fourth Test, it is tempting to wonder exactly how those present will dice and slice the events of Sunday afternoon at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The last-ditch, non-result, dead‑series Test match draw: there is no other substance quite like this in sport. It’s good. It’s great. It’s irresistible. But try to explain it, and it just kind of slips away.

Continue reading...

Root ‘proud’ of England playing through physical pain to get Ashes draw – video

England secured a dramatic draw against Australia in Sydney in the fourth Ashes Test. England's captain, Joe Root, said the draw in Sydney restored pride in his team 'in a small way' after their Ashes disappointments in the first three Tests. 

Australia captain Pat Cummins had no regrets about falling one wicket short of a 4-0 lead in the Ashes, admitting he found a tense draw in Sydney 'a lot of fun'.

Continue reading...

England avoid Ashes whitewash after surviving in fourth Test with Australia

England have avoided an Ashes whitewash after surviving a late onslaught from Australia’s bowling attack to draw the fourth Test in Sydney with one wicket to spare.

After thumping defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, the tourists stopped the rot in the tensest possible fashion at the SCG. Veteran tailenders Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson saw England to safety, following the dismissal of Jack Leach with two overs to spare and Jonny Bairstow, who was gone for 41 from 105 balls when he popped a catch to silly mid-off off the irrepressible Scott Boland.

Continue reading...