England sink to embarrassing 133-year first in Ashes debacle

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)
England's terrible second innings collapse in the Boxing Day Test represented a 113-year nadir in their Ashes competition with Australia. Pictures: Getty Images
England's terrible second innings collapse in the Boxing Day Test represented a 113-year nadir in their Ashes competition with Australia. Pictures: Getty Images

It's plain to see from the scorecard of the Boxing Day Test that England's performance wasn't exactly up there with their best.

Losing by an innings and 14 runs before lunch on day three of any Test is a humiliating result, but not since 1904 has England suffered a loss this catastrophic.

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Their paltry second innings total of just 68 was the touring side's lowest score on Australian soil since before the first World War.

Additionally, not since the pre-federation period in Australia have England's batters held a collective average this low in an Ashes series.

As a group, England are averaging just 18.75 runs for the series - their second worst mark in history after the tourists averaged 15.10 back in the 1888 Ashes series.

England have won just one of their last 12 Tests, including nine losses in 2021 alone.

The miserable statistics just kept on coming for England, with the Boxing Day Test the shortest Ashes contest in 71 years.

It comes as little surprise, with England struggling to get any contributions with the bat from anyone other than captain Joe Root, who has scored 1708 runs in 15 Tests this year.

Opener Rory Burns, who was dropped for the Boxing Day contest, is England's next best contributor with an average of 27.89 for his 570 runs.

Root scored a century in each of the four Tests England won this season, demonstrating what a lone hand the captain has largely played for his side this year.

One of his predecessors, former England skipper Michael Vaughan, pulled no punches when describing the side's Boxing Day performance in the moments afterwards.

“They’ve got some big problems. That was embarrassing," he said on Fox Sports.

“They’re a group of players that pride themselves on competing and they’ve just not managed to find any kind of consistency or skill.

“They’ve not been able to manage this powerhouse of a team. The juggernaut started in Brisbane and they’ve not been able to stop the Australian juggernaut."

Knives out for England after Ashes rout

Former England batter Geoffrey Boycott says Root must hand over the reins after Australia won the Ashes series in only 12 days of Test cricket.

"Now Australia are 3-0 up and the Ashes have gone, will Root please stop saying Australia are not much better than us? I don't mind him living in cuckoo land but stop trying to kid us," Boycott wrote in his column in The Telegraph.

"If he really believes what he says then maybe it is time he gave up the captaincy of the England cricket team.

"The facts are staring us all in the face, except Joe doesn't want to see it - England can't bat. Our bowling is ordinary.

"Nobody would want to give up the captaincy, but it is not about Joe - it is about getting guys to perform better."

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)

Ex-England batter Mark Ramprakash hopes Root stays on as captain but believes he needs more support.

"Joe's a great role model but the players around him have not been up to the mark and that's why ...you have to feel sympathetic for him," he told Sky Sports News.

"I don't think he's necessarily tactically the best captain we've ever had, and so he will have to take his share of responsibility...but equally I think Joe needs support from people above him.

"We need to have a good hard look at how we help Joe Root if he continues as captain...but if he has the drive and desire to carry on then I would stick with him."

However, ex-England quick Steve Harmison believes heads will roll after their "embarrassing" MCG display.

"There is going to be a big inquest. There's going to be a lot of things blamed, people's careers on the line," he told BT Sport.

"They (Australia) bowled brilliantly but that's embarrassing, I'm sorry.

"No fight, there was nothing there."

With AAP

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