'Wasted experiment': England's 'woeful' Boxing Day picks panned

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·Sports Reporter
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England's Ashes selections throughout the series have been heavily criticised, both at home and in Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
England's Ashes selections throughout the series have been heavily criticised, both at home and in Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

A former England batsman has derided England's selection strategy ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

The visitors swung four changes after their heavy loss in the second Test in Adelaide, with struggling opener Rory Burns and middle order batsman Ollie Pope left out.

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Fast bowlers Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes have also been left out, with Mark Wood and spinner Jack Leach returning to the lineup.

Batsmen Zak Crawley and Johnny Bairstow will play their first Test of the series with the visitors down 2-0 and facing a difficult task to get on the board at the MCG.

England's selections throughout the first two Tests prompted criticism of their tactics in the lead-up to both matches, and former Test star Nick Compton has pointed the finger at the selection committee for the side's downturn in form.

Describing the recent pattern of changes to the side as 'woeful and reactive', Compton said the selection committee's attempts to optimise the side had inadvertently alienated certain players and affected their form badly.

“Let’s be frank, the selections have been woeful and reactive,” Compton told Fox Sports.

“And the last thing you want to be in any series, especially one where the coaches and managers have gone on about their preparation and having so much planning for so long, clearly there’s been so little planning and it’s all reactive.

“It’s another reactive decision to a pretty obvious equation. They didn’t have much choice. Carry on what they’re doing or try and get the team right having hopefully learnt from the mistakes of the past two Test matches.”

Jos Buttler will stay wicketkeeper, despite him dropping chances in Adelaide and fellow gloveman Bairstow coming into the side.

Compton said the attempts to bring both Bairstow and Buttler along in recent years had only disrupted what had been a handy batting average for the former in previous years.

He described the move as a 'wasted experiment'.

“There’s been a lot of criticism about Jonny of late, but in my opinion the introduction of Jos Buttler is when everything, if you look at his stats, that’s when everything ruined him," Compton said. 

"He’s a sensitive character and England should have known that and when he was batting at seven and keeping for England he was the world’s best Test wicketkeeper."

Jos Buttler keen to avenge topsy-turvy Adelaide performance

Buttler has continued the tourists' fighting talk since the second Test debacle in Adelaide, promising a much better contest.

Buttler said England are determined to spoil the host nation's Boxing Day festivities.

"We're certainly not here just to take part and let 70,000 people enjoy another Australian victory," he said.

"That's why you play the game. You want to be part of big occasions and it doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

"You need to turn up in tough situations and play well."

Jos Buttler says he is determined to bounce back from a mixed performance in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)
Jos Buttler says he is determined to bounce back from a mixed performance in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

The gloveman said he was determined to improve on his performance in Adelaide, which was punctuated by a handful of impressive catches and easy dropped chances.

"I made some mistakes in Adelaide. It's how you park them and move on and continue to catch the next one," Buttler said.

"There's nowhere to hide as a wicketkeeper. You have to front up, be honest, keep training hard and be ready for the next one."

But Buttler also impressed with the bat in the second Test, curbing his combative instincts during the second innings.

He held Australia at bay with 26 from 207 balls.

With AAP

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