The Ashes: Same old story for England in Hobart

15 January 2022 23:26:39 GMTPlus10
Mitchell Starc shone for Australia

England's bowlers may have gained some credit on day two of the fifth Ashes Test, but there was a familiar feel about the batting performance as the tourists suffered another collapse.

Picking up a win in this series finale now looks a tough ask and you can watch the action on the Sports Live Streaming section.

Australia reached the close of play on 37-3, a lead of 152 runs with seven wickets remaining, and they are 1/1000 to come out on top, while the draw is priced at 1000/1 and England are 1000/1 to chalk up their first victory Down Under.

Problems with the Three Lions' batting line-up once again cropped their ugly head and a serious inquiry will be required by the England set-up when this harrowing Ashes tour is finally over.

Lack of quality a concern

Resuming on 241-6, Australia managed to add 62 runs to their overnight score as they were bowled out for 303, with spinner Nathan Lyon scoring 31 off 27 balls before his stumps were clattered by a Stuart Broad delivery.

England's response started in dreadful fashion when Rory Burns, brought back into the side in place of Haseeb Hameed, was run-out for a duck after a mix-up with Zak Crawley, who was dismissed shortly after for 18 by Pat Cummins.

Dawid Malan and Joe Root did rebuild, taking the score to 73-2, only for the duo and Ben Stokes to then fall in quick succession as England slipped to 85-5 and then 110-6 when Ollie Pope went for 14.

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Debutant Sam Billings made 29 and Chris Woakes top-scored with 36 but England were bowled out for just 188. Cummins (4-45) and Mitchell Starc (3-53) did the bulk of the damage for Australia, while Scott Boland and Cameron Green both took one wicket apiece.

The batting frailties of this side were once again on show for everyone to see and there are some big decisions for the selectors and management to make regarding what path they go down next.

To put this shambolic batting into context. England have averaged 21.1 runs per wicket. There have only been two Ashes series of three or more Tests where it has been worse - in 1882/83 and in 1888.

Consistent Cummins leading by example

There was a lot of pressure put on the shoulders of Pat Cummins for this series, having been handed the captaincy shortly before the first Test, but he has taken everything in his stride.

Questions were asked about whether a pace bowler could act as a skipper and there were even suggestions Marnus Labuschagne should have been given the responsibility.

However, Cummins has responded in the best way possible and his side are in a strong position to win the Test - which you can follow on our Sports Live Streaming platform - and end with a 4-0 series success.

The 28-year-old produced a great spell of bowling on day two, removing Crawley, Malan, Root and Wood to finish with figures of 4-45 from 13.4 overs.

Cummins is the joint-leading wicket-taker in the series with 18, alongside Starc, and he looks set for a long, successful time as leader of this side.

300 will be enough

With a lead of 152 runs, Australia will be hoping they can put their foot on the gas on day three and build a sizeable lead over the tourists.

England will be looking at the picture and thinking they could have a chance of pinching a win, if they can take the final seven wickets for a low amount of runs and restrict the hosts' lead to less than 300.

However, the issue for Root's men is that they haven't scored 300 in the whole series in one innings, so to think that will change now is optimistic to say the least.

The Hobart Test is only about to enter the third day and there is every chance England could well be batting under lights again, adding to the tricky task ahead of them.

It wouldn't be a huge surprise if this Test was done and dusted in three days, although Australia may want to try and drag out the misery on England in what has been a tour to forget.

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