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Ashes: the same sad story for Joe Root and England in Australia

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Ashes: the same sad story for Joe Root and England in Australia

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or Joe Root and England, it was the same sad story on Australian soil, a nightmare after Christmas. Even with a crowd of just 57,100 people caused by Covid at the MCG, it is the biggest scene in Australian cricket; for England, everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong.

England have made four team changes for the sixth time this year and the 22nd time in 10 tests. Asked to strike first with the gray skies and the green of the field, they lost their first cheap matches on their way to being eliminated for 185. By strains, Australia had hit 14 overs, losing just one wicket and scoring at four per year. It was really like the end of days.

Root? It was fifty-one more time, which is the story of his 12 tests in Australia. Nine times lower, it has been half a century, but never has it gone to triple digits. Once again, he was caught behind the wicket, this time by Mitchell Starc goalkeeper Alex Carey, playing exactly the kind of ball he had begged to leave alone. He left with a huge swing of the bat that clearly showed his frustration.

Root had said optimistically that he was ready to “bring out a hundred.” To everyone it looked like this, with perfect timing on the biggest stage, he was keeping his word. It had been a sparkling short run – little, unfortunately, being the key word – for Root, totally dominating England’s score and looking as comfortable as he has ever been in Australia.

The race between the wickets was tough, placement tricky, and another big step was taken: when he turned 27, he moved up to third place, ahead of Graeme Smith in 2008, on the most list. races won per calendar year. A century in his penultimate round of a remarkable year would have sent him soaring towards the top two, Mohammad Yousuf in 2006 and Viv Richards in 1976. In his last round, he needed 31 to beat Richards and 109 to beat Richards. overtake Yousuf. How grateful he would be for 109 – and not for his own records.

Pat Cummins won the toss and chose to play

/ Getty Images

The most remarkable thing about Root’s year is the class gap between the best and the rest. And so it was once again. The new opening pair, Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley, didn’t last long, unable to live with Pat Cummins. Dawid Malan remained brave again, but fell for lunch, again against Cummins, in a blow to England’s hopes.

By the time Root left, he had 1,680 races for the year. England’s second best is Rory Burns (retired, out of 530), and no one else has even made 400. So Root is 1150 over second place. Only Malan, back in the team for five matches, has an average (38.5) or even half that of Root (62).

Root had given England hope after Pat Cummins clinched the top three in two sensational runs in the opening session. There was little that Haseeb Hameed could do on the thin edge of a nice ball, but Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan, looking good, might think their layoffs, taken at the ravine and on the first slide, respectively, were the kind of bullets England spent. all week talking about leaving.

Hameed did a duck, the 50th of the year for England. Four of them belong to him, and 14 to forerunners. Crawley, meanwhile, went for 12, one more than his 2021 average; that said, he was parachuted into a series of unprepared tests. Malan shared a 48 stand with Root, digging hard, before falling to the ball before lunch. Considering England’s dependence on this pair, it was a hammer blow.

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