‘England can’t bat’: team caned at home after Ashes surrender

The knives are out for England in the UK after their Ashes third Test humiliation, with calls for captain Joe Root to step down and doubt cast over Chris Silverwood continuing as head coach.

Dec 29, 2021, updated Dec 29, 2021
England's Joe Root walks off after being dismissed during day three of the third Ashes test at the Melborne Cricket Ground. Photo: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire.

England's Joe Root walks off after being dismissed during day three of the third Ashes test at the Melborne Cricket Ground. Photo: Jason O'Brien/PA Wire.

England meekly surrendered at the MCG, capitulating for 68 in their second dig as Australia claimed an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

Former England batter Geoffrey Boycott says Root must hand over the reins after Australia won the Ashes series in only 12 days of Test cricket.

“Now Australia are 3-0 up and the Ashes have gone, will Root please stop saying Australia are not much better than us? I don’t mind him living in cuckoo land but stop trying to kid us,” Boycott wrote in his column in The Telegraph.

“If he really believes what he says then maybe it is time he gave up the captaincy of the England cricket team.

“The facts are staring us all in the face, except Joe doesn’t want to see it – England can’t bat. Our bowling is ordinary.

“Nobody would want to give up the captaincy, but it is not about Joe – it is about getting guys to perform better.”

Ex-England batter Mark Ramprakash hopes Root stays on as captain but believes he needs more support.

“Joe’s a great role model but the players around him have not been up to the mark and that’s why… you have to feel sympathetic for him,” he said.

“I don’t think he’s necessarily tactically the best captain we’ve ever had, and so he will have to take his share of responsibility…but equally I think Joe needs support from people above him.

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“We need to have a good hard look at how we help Joe Root if he continues as captain… but if he has the drive and desire to carry on then I would stick with him.”

However, ex-England quick Steve Harmison believes heads will roll after their “embarrassing” MCG display.

“There is going to be a big inquest. There’s going to be a lot of things blamed, people’s careers on the line,” said.

“They (Australia) bowled brilliantly but that’s embarrassing, I’m sorry.

“No fight, there was nothing there.”

Former England captain Michael Atherton believed Silverwood would pay dearly for the series loss, saying the blame lay squarely on his shoulders.

After a restructure by men’s managing director Ashley Giles in April, Silverwood absorbed a role as chief selector but England have struggled this year, winning just one of their last 12 Tests with a record nine defeats in 2021 including their MCG nadir.

“I can’t see a situation where Silverwood will survive this tour. All the responsibility lies with him,” Atherton said.

“The way Giles has set things up, there is only one man to blame, even though there are deeper issues than the blame game.”


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