England look to bowlers after fresh batting misery – day one of Boxing Day Test

England need a resounding fightback from their bowlers if they are to keep their Ashes hopes alive after another chastening opening day for Joe Root’s side in Melbourne.

The captain top-scored with 50 but it was another woeful batting display by his team after Australia skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to turn the screw on England’s top order.

Root was visibly frustrated at the tame manner of his dismissal. His was one of three unforced errors from senior men in a demoralising afternoon session, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler also culpable as the tourists were eventually bowled out for 185.

After pointed criticism of his bowling unit after their second Test drubbing in Adelaide, Root now needs his attack to run through Australia – who reached 61 for one at the close after James Anderson removed David Warner.

The pressure will be on the returning Jack Leach to match Nathan Lyon – who claimed three first-innings wickets – on a pitch offering some spin.

The duck hunt

Haseeb Hameed fell to Cummins without scoring, bringing up the 50th duck of the year for England – only four short of the record for a Test team in a calendar year.

Root’s Australian conundrum

  • Innings: 22
  • Top score: 89
  • Fifties: 9
  • Average: 39.75

Root has tipped himself to score a first Test hundred on Australian soil but his dismissal here means he now has nine unconverted half-centuries Down Under. For a player of his pedigree, it is an anomaly that does not sit right but chances are running out for him to set the record straight.

Tweet of the day

Former India player and analyst Aakash Chopra feels the England captain needs help from his team-mates.

England’s numbers don’t add up

When head coach Chris Silverwood set out his blueprint for the side two years ago it was built around one key concept: big first-innings runs. Major totals have simply not materialised, in either innings, and this was the 12th time in 15 Tests this year that England have been dismissed for less than 200.

Pic of the day

Jonny Bairstow and England were on their knees after a chastening opening day at the MCG (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Jonny Bairstow was floored by a searing bouncer from Mitchell Starc which he could only glove to Cameron Green at gully. The sight of Bairstow on the floor seemed to encapsulate the mood of England’s day, and series, as Australia continued to keep their foot on the tourists’ throat.

View from the dressing room

We’ve got to get a bit stronger and tougher with our dismissals. We know that and we’ve spoken about that. I can tell you, everyone is trying.

Jonny Bairstow

‘Muddled’ England

Stokes was one of a number of batters guilty of losing their wicket to a false shot (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Former England fast bowler Steven Finn – who was part of a winning Ashes tour in 2011 – believes the batters are confused in their approach.

“They seemed slightly muddled, and not entirely sure where to sit between being aggressive and trying to impose yourself on the game, but also having resolute defence at the same time,” Finn told the BBC’s Test Match Special.

“When you’re looking at it and the way that they played beyond that first hour, I didn’t see excessive seam movement. 185 is way below par.”


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.