2021/22 Ashes Third Test
England sink to new low with pathetic second innings collapse in Melbourne to hand the urn to Australia
Australia sealed a thumping win inside the first session on day three of the Third Ashes test to move into a 3–0 series lead and make sure the urn will remain down under.
In reality, it was made far too easy by an England team that is threatening to be one of the worst to ever tour Australia.
England rang the changes following the heavy defeat in Adelaide, with Zak Crawley, Johnnie Bairstow, Mark Wood and Jack Leach replacing Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad.
Australia, keen to dismiss the adage of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ by making two changes to their winning side.
Captain Pat Cummins returned and Scott Boland made his test debut on his home ground, the pair replacing Michael Neser and Jyhe Richardson.
On a green wicket, both captains would likely have been desperate to win the toss and get their opponent batting.
Typical of England’s luck, Australia won the toss and perhaps unsurprisingly made England bat first.
You can probably sense what came next, and the first wicket of Hameed fell with just four on the board.
Wickets tumbled at regular intervals and other than Root, who scored a 50 and out, England collapsed to 185 all out.
Cummins removed Hameed, Crawley and Malan before lunch, and he sat back and watched his teammates do the rest, giving his batsman just over a session to make inroads.
Jimmy Anderson removed David Warner and Nathan Lyon did his night watchman job to navigate Australia to 61–1 at the close.
The gloomy conditions of day one had faded for the second day, and England needed quick wickets. For the first time in the series, it happened…
Lyon edged to Buttler early in the day, and from this the English bowlers kept up the pressure.
Labuschagne looked jittery and his spell at the crease was short lived by the time Wood found his outside edge.
Was this game on? If it wasn’t at this point, it was when Jimmy forced Steve Smith to inside edge onto his own stumps around half an hour before lunch.
The wickets were ground out throughout the afternoon session and Australia were reduced to 267 all out.
Would the batters reward the efforts of the bowlers? Would they heck…
Crawley was the first to fall, followed by Malan for a first ball duck, Hameed and night watchman Leach as England crumbled to 31–4 by the end of day two.
The third day had a sense of wondering exactly how long it would take for Australia to seal the win and retain the Ashes.
As it turned out, England fans wouldn’t need to stop up too late…
Root and Stokes looked decent for the first 20 minutes, but once Stokes was bowled by Starc, a collapse that was impressive even for England began.
Debutant Boland had his fill of English batters and took four of the final five wickets, including Root and Bairstow.
England crashed and burned with a whimper, and their lower order was decimated, bringing to an end the innings for just 68.
Australia wrapped up the win by an innings and 14 runs despite scoring less than 270. A dreadful display with the bat overshadowed a hard working effort with the ball
The spineless nature of England’s collapse leaves many questions which need to be answered.
Unfortunately, Root’s side need to negotiate another two tests before they can fly back home.
England are a failed outfit at present, with too many players seemingly keeping their place without needing to earn it.
Whatever happens in Sydney and Hobart, a serious postmortem into this series is absolutely imperative in the new year.