England collapse to gift Australia the Ashes
England’s reign as holders of the Ashes is over as a dominant Australia produced a cricketing masterclass to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-test series. This victory raises fears that England could once again face an Ashes whitewash by Australia.
England could suffer the humiliation of another 5-0 Ashes defeat as they collapsed in the third test to a rampant Australia. Australia bowled England all out for 218, giving them victory by 41 runs and an innings in the third test in Perth.
Josh Hazlewood was Australia’s hero as he took five English wickets for 48 runs to crush England with an innings to spare. Dawid Malan and James Vince were the only English players to score over 50 as England fell woefully short of the target of 662 set by Australia in the first innings.
Scandal over damp pitch
The third test was in danger of turning into farce when it became evident that the rain covers had leaked during the night, causing red-faced officials the frantic task of using leaf-blowers to dry the Waca pitch. This meant a three-hour delay start to the day’s proceedings.
Both English coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root complained to match umpires about the state of the pitch but ultimately England were forced to continue with the match, but no amount of protestation could disguise what in reality was in inept display from England which saw them concede the Ashes with a whimper rather than a lion’s roar.
In continuation of play, Jonny Bairstow was bowled off the first ball he received from Josh Hazlewood, as his delivery hit an area affected by the damp with the low delivery hitting Bairstow’s stumps.
The slimmest glimmer of hope for England was the hitting exploits of Malan. His first innings score for England of 140 gave England a remote chance of fightback but sadly, when he was bowled by Hazlewood and caught by Tim Paine for 54, the English hopes were effectively over.
The middle lower order batsman fell like dominoes. Jonny Bairstow took just 14 runs, Moeen Ali 11, Chris Woakes was out for 22, James Anderson a solitary single and any shred of belief was destroyed when Craig Overton scored just 12 runs to hand Australia an easy victory.
Australia now have the luxury of playing the remaining test matches at a testimonial pace whilst a deflated and demoralised England must play to the highest standard just to salvage a scrap of pride. This Ashes test has been a disaster for England with many believing that lack of discipline in the English camp as being a major contributor to this woeful display.
A triumphant Australia say goodbye to Waca
Australia sealing the Ashes win at the Waca Ground in Perth was a fitting goodbye for the stadium that has been such a nightmare for the English cricketers over the years. The Waca Grounds pitch is notorious for its high levels of bounce and pace and England players have historically struggled, winning just once there in 1978 and losing on their past seven visits.
Not only has the Waca been bad for English hopes but also for other International rivals, in fact Australia have won 24 of the 41 tests that have been played there.
The Waca started holding Test matches in 1970 but the third test is the last Ashes test that will ever be played at the Waca, with future international matches between Australia and England moving to a new 60,000 capacity stadium being built in Perth.
The Waca will still be used for some fixtures but not matches involving South Africa, India or England and will instead become a boutique multi-purpose stadium that will still see some less important fixtures.
The decision to relocate hasn’t been universally accepted in Australia with many believing that the unique conditions at the Waca are an advantage for the Australian national team. Followers of the English Barmy Army will be hoping this is the case and will have high hopes for better performances at the new venue.