Tuesday 20 March 2018

England's five steps towards disaster

Stephen Brenkley

1. Alastair Cook's stiff back

It seemed a piffling thing at the time when the captain disembarked at Perth and found himself unable to play in the first warm-up game. But it meant the team for the opening game changed, which meant the intended Test team changed, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

2. The Johnson factor

As soon as he was unleashed at Brisbane, it was clear that England had to respond quickly. Trouble was that Mitchell Johnson had become a bit of a joke, a fast bowler who could perform in patches, but swiftly fell apart. Instead he was a constant and rapid menace.

3. Jonathan Trott's illness

Poor Trott was worked over by Johnson in the first Test and was clearly suffering as, it transpired, he had been for some time. He went home and the balance of the team, nurtured carefully over four years, was terminally destroyed.

4. Graeme Swann's retirement

Swann was targeted mercilessly by Australia's right-handed batsmen and eventually decided enough was enough, announcing his retirement after the third Test. He deserves better than being remembered for being hit for 22 off his final Test over.

5. Kevin Pietersen's disengagement

Despite all his protests and his determination to show otherwise, Pietersen never quite convinced that he meant business on the grand scale. It is possible to wonder if he will ever again be as good as he was.

Stephen Brenkley


9 -- Australia's winless run in Tests prior to the series.

18 -- Players used by England. There were 17 in the original touring party.

11 -- Players used by Australia, only the fourth side to go unchanged through a five-match Test series.

523 -- Runs by Australia's David Warner, the top scorer in the series.

294 -- Runs by England's top scorer Kevin Pietersen.

37 -- Most wickets in the series, by Australia's Mitchell Johnson, at 13.97.

21 -- Most wickets by an England bowler, Stuart Broad, at 27.52.

10 -- Centuries scored by Australia.

1 -- Centuries scored by England.

255 -- England's highest first innings total.

570 -- Australia's highest first innings total - for nine, declared.

6 --Times England dismissed for under 200.

82 -- Pages in England's 'essential' touring menu, leaked prior to the series.

Irish Independent

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