'Can't assure you': Under-fire Premier's sledge for dismal Poms

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet couldn't resist a dig at England after the fourth Ashes Test was confirmed to be going ahead in Sydney as planned. Pictures: Getty Images
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet couldn't resist a dig at England after the fourth Ashes Test was confirmed to be going ahead in Sydney as planned. Pictures: Getty Images

As New South Wales state premier Dominic Perrottet deals with the fallout of record coronavirus cases in the state and hours long backlogs at testing sites, a distraction was surely welcome.

Fortunately for him, such a distraction was provided when England well and truly capitulated on day three of the Boxing Day Test.

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The visitors lost the Test, and with it the entire Ashes series, on Tuesday morning when they went down 3-0 to Australia thanks to some powerful bowling from debutant Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc.

Spectators at the MCG witnessed barely half a session of play before the Boxing Day Test was done and dusted on day three.

The English players could be forgiven for being somewhat distracted as four coronavirus cases were picked up among the broader touring party, however none of the playing group have been affected to date.

The Boxing Day Test went ahead amid calls for the subsequent two Tests, scheduled for Sydney and Tasmania, to be played in Melbourne so as to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.

These calls were emphatically ruled out by the time the match was over though, with both Cricket Australia and the NSW state government confirming the fourth Test would go ahead as planned in Sydney.

Speaking with reporters in Wagga, the Premier couldn't help but poke fun at England's dismal tour.

“Any speculation that the Sydney Test match is not going ahead is completely untrue,” he said.

“The Sydney Test is a highlight of our state’s calendar. It is happening.

“I can’t assure you how long it will last given what we’ve seen today, so try and get in on the first two days to see some action."

After removing indoor mask mandates and QR check-ins in NSW prior to Christmas, Mr Perrottet had to reinstate the measures amid a record jump in new infections.

A total of 6062 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, with 60 now in intensive care units.

Mr Perrottet had previously defended the loosening of restrictions prior to Christmas, saying the use of masks was a matter of 'personal responsibility'.

England hurtling towards worst Ashes tour

Joe Root's shambolic outfit is careering towards Ashes ignominy, on track to become just the fourth England side in history to suffer a series whitewash Down Under.

Something drastic would have to change on-field - or perhaps even the intervention of further virus-related chaos off-field - for England to avoid the same fate that befell the touring teams of 1920-21, 2006-07 and 2013-14.

In the past, they have at least been in the contest, with Australia's greatest Test outfit pulling off an improbable victory in Adelaide in 2006-07.

In 2013-14, England were in every Test before Brad Haddin often dug the hosts out of several holes.

But this time around, there are few excuses for an England team that finds itself 3-0 down after a comprehensive innings and 14-run thrashing at the MCG.

Put bluntly, the tourists' 68 all out on Tuesday summed up a horror three weeks since the start of the Gabba Test.

After a swift Ashes loss in Australia, Joe Root and the England Test team clearly have plenty of work to do. (Photo by HAMISH BLAIR/AFP via Getty Images)
After a swift Ashes loss in Australia, Joe Root and the England Test team clearly have plenty of work to do. (Photo by HAMISH BLAIR/AFP via Getty Images)

It means the current series has been decided inside 12 days of cricket - the fastest Australia have retained the urn since 2002-03 - and the hosts have now sealed the Ashes within three Tests in eight of the past nine home series.

"I'm absolutely gutted," England captain Root said.

"We're bitterly disappointed to find ourselves in this position.

"There are two Test matches to go and we have to try to make sure we come away from this tour with a couple of wins.

"They've definitely outplayed us in the three games. We've not been good enough."

With AAP

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