It could be a case of the less aid, the better for England where the Ashes Series of 2021/22 is concerned. The team, led by captain Joe Root, headed to Australia to take on the defending champions in the hope of taking the prestigious urn back with them. But, the tournament proved to be another massive disappointment in a long list of them for this group in particular.
Australia began the Vodafone Men’s Ashes series as the defending champions after victory in 2017/18 was followed up by a draw. Of course, the Aussies, skippered by Pat Cummins, were always going to be favourites to win the Test Series outright, but nobody expected the abject performances from England.
The First Test got underway at The Gabba on the 8th of December, with Rory Burns being bowled for a golden duck off the first ball by Mitchell Starc very much a sign of things to come. England cricket team won the toss, went straight into bat, and was all out before tea for 147 in the first innings.
When Australia was dismissed on Day Three, they had racked up 425 runs, with England doing enough to reduce the deficit to 58 runs. Day Four saw several strong showings from the likes of Dawid Malan and Root, but it wasn’t enough, as Australia were left with a target of 20 to secure victory, which they duly delivered.
Things didn’t improve for England in Adelaide at The Oval, with the Second Test going the same way as the first. Australia were without captain Cummins who was isolating, but after winning the toss and batting first, they were 225 for two at the end of Day One. They added to their advantage, declaring for 473 on Day Two, with England finishing the day on 17 for two.
Thanks to Malan and Root in the main, England ended up folding on 236, which always meant they were going to have a lot of work to do if they were to salvage something from the Second Test. And, with the next two days going against them, they were beaten by a massive 275 runs, leafing to a lot of questions being asked.
The Third Test was always going to be make or break for both England and Australia, and it was the latter who came out on top by going 3-0 up in the Series and retaining the Ashes. England made a raft of changes for the Third Test, but after being bowled for 185, the inevitable was on the horizon.
Australia had victory in their grasp, and after being bowled out for 267 themselves, they cut through England’s batsmen like a knife through butter to win by an innings and 14 runs. You could go as far as saying the performance by England was nothing short of embarrassing, with their score of 68 the lowest on record since 1904 on Australian soil.
England needed a reprieve of sorts and to show their mettle. And, while the rest of the Series was irrelevant in terms of the Ashes, pride was at stake. So, after fighting back and securing a draw in Sydney, with a strong showing from Johnny Bairstow, who hit 113, at least it was something.
As you will expect, Australia wanted to end the Series on a high, and the Fifth Test was the chance to do so. They were first at the crease, with England electing to field, scoring 303. England's response was 188 before Australia added a further 155 to their total and left Zak Crawley, who managed to hit 36 from 66, with it all to do. The Aussies won by 146 runs and closed the Series with four victories from five.
The inquest is now well and truly underway after what many describe as a horror showing from England. The batsmen and batting order have been called into question for a long while, and now a rethink has been ordered by pundits and experts alike. So it’s now over to the powers that be to get the England Cricket Team moving in the right direction again, with a rejig much needed.