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BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Joe Root gave the Aussies a late Christmas present with Jack Leach decision

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BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Joe Root gave the Aussies a late Christmas present with Jack Leach decision while England’s batsmen MUST show more patience on tricky Melbourne wicket


England are on the brink of a third devastating defeat Down Under and, this time, there will not be any chance of redemption with Australia having one hand on the Ashes in Melbourne.   

James Anderson rolled back the years with four wickets for 33 runs to put the tourists within touching distance of the hosts, but a sensational spell from Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland tore through England’s top order.

Here, Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD provides an insight into another enthralling day at the MCG.

It was another bad day for England Down Under with the tourists facing another defeat

It was another bad day for England Down Under with the tourists facing another defeat

JIMMY IS A CLASS ACT 

Heroic effort from England’s bowlers led once again by Jimmy Anderson. The quality of the old boy is shining through once more and they can’t play a shot against him.

All the quicker bowlers are holding sway and it seems to be uneven bounce that’s doing the trick. It’s going to be a quick Test, that’s for sure….

Jimmy Anderson displayed his quality once again with a brilliant spell of bowling in Melbourne

Jimmy Anderson displayed his quality once again with a brilliant spell of bowling in Melbourne

ROOT LET AUSSIES OFF THE HOOK 

But I didn’t understand the first hour after lunch on the second day. England were reeling Australia in but Joe Root put Jack Leach on and it just released the pressure.

He went for three an over and you could just sense the batters thinking ‘this is a Christmas present.’ 

It was a mistake not to have a good burst at them after the break. The Test just drifted….

However, captain Joe Root let the Aussies off the hook with his decision in the second session

However, captain Joe Root let the Aussies off the hook with his decision in the second session

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE FOR BATSMEN ON THIS WICKET 

Looking at the replays it’s striking the number of players on both sides being caught on the crease with their bat way out in front of them. 

This is a pitch that’s doing a bit so they should be really careful and play as late as possible. Instead they were guilty of going so hard at the ball. The slip catchers are saying ‘thanks very much.’

It reminds me of watching Sachin Tendulkar a few years back. He stayed behind for half an hour after an India practice and got someone throwing the ball quickly at him. 

The Little Master just dead batted every ball, playing it so softly it died and didn’t touch the net on either side. It was a real lesson in what today’s players should be doing….

Both sets of players need to display more patience on this tricky wicket in Melbourne

Both sets of players need to display more patience on this tricky wicket in Melbourne

WOOD BRINGS VALUE TO NEW TV INNOVATION 

I think this innovation of TV having a word with players on the field at drinks is a real nonsense because it’s the same questions time after time. But they should have Mark Wood on every time speaking in broad Geordie because he was great value on Monday. 

I expected there to be sub-titles for the Australian audience. And all the while he talked Ben Stokes was chucking water at him. At the end he turned round and said ‘give over man.’

Mark Wood was a revelation on Australian TV and I could get used to watching more of him

Mark Wood was a revelation on Australian TV and I could get used to watching more of him

RAMPS IS MADE FOR PUNDITRY 

I sit up every time Mark Ramprakash comes on BT because he talks so much sense from a batting and coaching perspective. 

Ramps provides a fantastic insight. These are challenging times and the TV coverage has been a bit bizarre in this Test. 

Some commentators are in Australia and some in England. I do sympathise with them. It’s so difficult to do the job off a screen….

GREAT TO CATCH UP WITH OLD PALS IN MELBOURNE 

I did the Channel Seven English tea-time slot again on Monday and it was great to catch up with two old muckers in James Brayshaw and Damien Fleming. 

I decided to give them a remote tour of all my favourite pubs and bars in Fitzroy, the Bohemian area of Melbourne, in my pyjamas. 

I was wearing my T-shirt from the Catfish Bar in Gertrude Street too…

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