2021/22 Ashes Fifth Test
England’s agony was finally ended in Hobart with a sickening fourth innings collapse…
The 2021/22 Ashes series came to an abrupt conclusion in Hobart as England collapsed to another sorry defeat.
Australia brought in Travis Head as Khawaja went to the top of the order to replace Marcus Harris in their only change from the draw in Sydney.
England rang the changes, with Hameed, Bairstow, Buttler, Leach and Anderson making way for Burns, Billings, Pope, Robinson and Wood.
England won the final toss of the series and, on a pretty green wicket, but the hosts into bat. It looked like a pitch where you’d want to have James Anderson at your disposal, but England made a great start regardless.
The Aussie top order crumbled to 12–3 and Warner, Khawaja and Smith were all back in the dressing room inside 10 overs.
Labuschagne fought back well with Head but he was bowled by Broad with the score on 83. England were in a good position, but a 120 stand between Head and Cameron took the score passed 200.
Head reached his ton and Green was finally out for 74 leaving Australia 236–6 and the hopes were high for England being able to restrict their opponents to a score below 300.
Unfortunately, Carey chipped in with a 24 and a quick fire 30-odd from Lyon pushed Australia to 303 all out.
England came in knowing that they just needed to avoid a collapse to assure it would be a decent second day.
This is England, so inevitably this didn’t happen. A poor run decision and soft edge left England 29–2.
A mini revival from Malan and Root was ended with the score on 78 when Malan edged behind. This led to a classic collapse.
Root and Stokes fell in quick succession and when Pope holed out, England were 110–6 and still over 190 behind.
Woakes and Wood rallied but in the end England were bundled out for 188, still a huge 115 runs behind.
Australia’s second innings started similar to the first, with quick wickets giving England hope. The final session belonged to England as Warner, Labyschagne and Khawaja were all dismissed leaving the hosts three down at the end of the day.
England knew that to set themselves up with a chasable total they needed to press home the advantage, and this is exactly what they did.
Night watchman Boland, Head and Smith fell in relatively quick succession leaving Australia 63–6.
Green and Carey rallied to get their side past 100 and by the time the innings came to an end, they had set England 271 to seal a consolation Test win in Hobart.
Mark Wood finished with career-best figures of 6–37 sealing a display that the English bowlers could be proud of.
Things started very well for England, as Burns and Crawley put on 68 for the first wicket, doubling the previous highest opening stand for the tourists.
However, once Green bowled Burns, things started to go horribly wrong. Wickets came thick and fast for England, and what had once looked like a noble fight towards a win soon became a salvage mission for England’s middle and lower order.
England collapsed from 68–0 to 124 all out in a batting display bad enough to make you feel ill.
The Australians, like so often in this series, ripped through the batting card like a hot knife through butter and sealed their fourth Test win from five and their second inside three days.
The inquest must start immediately for England after another horror show down under.
The 2021/22 series has shown Joe Root’s men have neither the fight nor ability to compete on the world stage.