2021/22 Ashes First Test
Woeful batting hands Australia a comfortable victory in Brisbane
It was the very early hours of Saturday morning in the UK when Australia finished chasing down their pitiful second innings target of 20.
Some might say the match was lost in England’s second innings, but in reality it felt as though Australia had the tourists by the scruff of the neck from the very first ball.
Rory Burns was bowled all ends up with the opening ball of the series, and the first day went from bad to worse as England were skittled out for just 147.
With plenty of rain around in Brisbane, Australia were unable to get into the middle before the close of play, but England’s woeful batting display gave everyone in both camps something to ponder overnight.
The second day had the Aussies off to a slow start, with Marcus Harris edging behind off the bowling of Ollie Robinson for just three. Unfortunately, this would be England’s last breakthrough for over 42 overs.
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne put on over 150 runs for the second wicket before the latter finally fell for 94.
Steve Smith left for a relatively disappointing 12, but it would be Travis Head who would take the game away from England.
England struggled to remove the mid-order batter who notched a hard earned 152.
This innings, coupled with a cameo of 35 from Mitchell Starc helped the hosts to an impressive 425; a score which this England side can only dream of at the moment.
The tourists trailed by over 270 by the time they came out to bat again, and unfortunately once again, the opening partnership failed to produce anything of note. Hameed and Burns put on just 23 for the opening stand and when Hameed went with just 61 on the board England looked in real trouble.
That was until captain Joe Root joined Dawid Malan at the crease. The pair navigated a tough period before battling to leave England on 220–2 at the close and trailing by 58 at the end of day three.
Runs for both players were much needed for various reasons, but it was refreshing to see Root especially showing the blistering form which (during this innings) saw him become the highest scoring Englishman in test cricket in a calendar year.
Hope for another long day of batting, which would either set the tourists up for an unlikely victory or help push for a draw, were dashed within the first half an hour of day four.
Malan, Root and Ollie Pope fell playing disappointing shots and when the hope of a middle order revival between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes failed, England looked on course for a heavy defeat.
The tailend was able to cobble together enough runs to at least make Australia bat again, but it proved to be a pitiful effort with the bat from the tourists.
The Gabba is not a happy hunting ground for England, but to say Joe Root’s side made it easy for the hosts would be an understatement.
Batting in test matches has been a problem for some time now, but during this match we saw some of the worst batting in recent times.
We have had heavy series defeats in Australia over the last two decades, and the nine wicket defeat in Brisbane had many of the hallmarks of yet another one this year.
Bouncing back at Adelaide will be vital for England, as heading into the Melbourne Boxing Day Test 2–0 down sounds like an uphill task for any side, never mind one with as little confidence with the bat as this squad.