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The Ashes: Nasser Hussain says mindset key for England after nine-wicket defeat in first Test

Nasser Hussain

Cricket Expert & Columnist

Sky Sports Cricket expert says England must think hard about their bowling attack for the second Test in Adelaide, with James Anderson’s swing likely to prove important; Hussain says England’s batting issues are a long-term problem and that skipper Joe Root needs more support

Last Updated: 11/12/21 10:15am

England must stay psychologically strong after losing their 10th Test out of 11 in Australia, says Nasser Hussain

England must stay psychologically strong after losing their 10th Test out of 11 in Australia, says Nasser Hussain

It’s advantage Australia in The Ashes with Pat Cummins’ side taking a 1-0 lead over Joe Root’s after a nine-wicket win at The Gabba.

Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain reflects on the tourists’ defeat in Brisbane, their batting faltering again, how they must remain psychologically strong, and what their bowling attacking might look like for the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from Thursday…

How England are psychologically is key now.

Some fans will be thinking ‘here we go again, we are going to lose 5-0’. We have lost 10 of our last 11 games in Australia with the other one being a draw. But we cannot have England thinking ‘here we go again’.

They are going to Adelaide, a pink-ball Test. It is their best chance to get back into the series so be positive and think ‘we can get back into the series’.

Joe Root does not regret his decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test despite England being rolled for 147 on day one and going on to lose the game by nine wickets.

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Joe Root does not regret his decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test despite England being rolled for 147 on day one and going on to lose the game by nine wickets.

Joe Root does not regret his decision to bat first in the opening Ashes Test despite England being rolled for 147 on day one and going on to lose the game by nine wickets.

I think the key is not to look back too much. Focus in on the next one, work out what you are doing with that bowling attack and the seam attack, in particular, because it is not easy.

People will say bring Stuart Broad and James Anderson back in but the bowlers that have been bowling in this Test have now got overs in their legs, so they are the best ones physically to go and play the next one.

Broad and Anderson haven’t bowled in anger in a match for months now and with their ageing bodies, can you get them both in? I’d definitely go with Anderson for the swing.

England spinner Jack Leach was targeted by Australia in Brisbane, with his 13 overs taken for 102 runs

England spinner Jack Leach was targeted by Australia in Brisbane, with his 13 overs taken for 102 runs

Then what do they do with Jack Leach? All the talk is about the pink ball in Adelaide. Yes, under lights it can swing but the rest of the day it can be pretty flat and it can spin, so you might need your spinner.

England’s batting malfunctions again

The century partnership between Joe Root and Dawid Malan on day three put England in a very strong position, they ended it just 58 runs behind.

If they could have got a 150-run lead then Australia were batting last on a pitch that may have gone up and down and spun – but we never got to the ifs and buts.

When you lose eight wickets in a session, including three before the new ball, it is very disappointing and England fans will know that over the last two or three years, however much the bowling attack carries the side, the batting has been disappointing and collapses have happened.

England opener Rory Burns was out for a golden duck in the first innings in Brisbane before falling for 13 in his second knock

England opener Rory Burns was out for a golden duck in the first innings in Brisbane before falling for 13 in his second knock

For a long time now, England have found themselves 20-3, 30-3, 40-4. They were 29-4 in the first innings of this Test and went on to be bowled out for 147.

Root has been their star player for a number of years and is the only one this year who averages over 40 in Test cricket. Root and Malan are the only ones averaging over 30, Root and Rory Burns are the only ones with Test hundreds.

I’m afraid that’s just not good enough, that is not going to win you that many Test matches. It can’t just be Root.

England Lions were bowled out for 103 in their first innings against Australia A so the reserve batting line-up aren’t kicking on with massive runs either. There is a problem with red-ball batting in general for England at the moment.

Australia’s ‘wonderful’ bowling attack

Australia's Nathan Lyon admitted he was relieved to claim his 400th Test wicket as he became the first spinner from outside Asia to achieve the milestone

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Australia’s Nathan Lyon admitted he was relieved to claim his 400th Test wicket as he became the first spinner from outside Asia to achieve the milestone

Australia’s Nathan Lyon admitted he was relieved to claim his 400th Test wicket as he became the first spinner from outside Asia to achieve the milestone

I think Nathan Lyon getting that early breakthrough on day four, getting past that milestone of 400 wickets, lifted a lot of weight off his shoulders and he then went through the gears, getting three more as England went from 220-2 overnight to 297 all out.

Finger spin is not easy in Australia but Lyon gets great drop and over-spin on the ball.

The Australia batters are coming down the pitch and belting Leach over the top but when England are trying that to Lyon, the ball has dropped on them and they are reaching for it, as we saw from Malan on day four. Lyon also allows the Australia pace bowlers to rest and be rotated.

Australia captain Pat Cummins saluted his side as they beat England in his first match in charge

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Australia captain Pat Cummins saluted his side as they beat England in his first match in charge

Australia captain Pat Cummins saluted his side as they beat England in his first match in charge

It’s a wonderful bowling attack Australia have, make no mistake.

The young all-rounder, Cameron Green, has really added to it so they have five genuine bowlers including a left-armer in Mitchell Starc who provides pace and footholes for Lyon, so it’s not easy against this attack.

But even with that bowling attack, Australia is a pretty good place to bat.




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