England need to be ‘tougher and stronger’ to salvage Ashes campaign, says Jonny Bairstow after another woeful collapse against Australia and insists ‘everyone is trying’ despite sloppy dismissals
- England were all out for 185 on Boxing Day in another bitter disappointment
- Joe Root reached 50 before the England captain give his wicket away
- Ben Stokes hit 22 but also made a mistake while Jos Buttler was out for just 3
- Jonny Bairstow said England need to show more resilience against Australia
- He insists their poor displays are not for lack of trying with Ashes hopes fading
Jonny Bairstow knows England need to be ‘stronger and tougher’ but only a remarkable shift in fortunes at the MCG will salvage their Ashes campaign after another costly batting collapse.
Australia enjoyed the festivities of Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test, rolling out their opponents for an underpowered score of 185 to complete another sorry day at the office for the tourists.
While England failed to piece together a single half-century stand, their opponents managed it at the first time of asking as David Warner (38) and Marcus Harris (20no) put on 57 in a stumps score of 61 for one.
Jonny Bairstow admitted England need to be ‘tougher and stronger’ after their latest collapse against Australia on Boxing Day
The three biggest errors came from England’s core leadership group – captain Joe Root giving a soft edge away from his body, Ben Stokes with an ugly slash and Jos Buttler guilty of a rush of blood against Nathan Lyon.
Bairstow was not involved in the previous disappointments in Brisbane and Adelaide but witnessed some sloppy dismissals first hand and accepts things must change.
‘We’ve got to get a bit stronger and tougher with our dismissals,’ he said.
‘We know that and we’ve spoken about that, that is just being honest with ourselves. I can tell you now everyone is trying. It’s one of those days that we will look back on, probably reassess next time and potentially take different options. We’re still searching for that big score.’
Australia are starting to run away with the urn after a number of England errors in Melbourne
Root, who was dismissed for an even 50 as he took his tally of unconverted half-centuries in Australia to nine, started the day by losing the toss and Bairstow believes the initiative went with it.
Play had been delayed by half-an-hour due to rain, leaving a sluggish outfield that kept the boundary count down and giving the seamers plenty of encouragement during the opening exchanges.
England had chosen to bat in similar conditions in the series opener, when they set the tone for the tour by slumping to 147 all out, but Bairstow insisted they would not have missed the opportunity a second time.
‘When you look at the toss it didn’t go our way. We’d have looked to bowl as well,’ he said.
‘Both teams were looking to bowl on that pitch, with the helpful conditions and a tinge of green. It was no surprise to be put in. With the weather around – rain and cloud cover – it was always going to be the plan to put us into bat.’
Joe Root’s side were all out for 185 and Bairstow insists they are ‘trying’ despite poor displays
Root made 50 before giving his wicket away as England’s batsmen again failed to kick on
England need to start strongly on day two to have any chance of getting back into the game and the identity of Australia’s overnight batters gives a faint glimmer of optimism. Harris is under pressure for his place after a lean run and tailender Lyon was sent out following James Anderson’s late dismissal of Warner.
Take out both quickly and the momentum could change but there are precious few runs to play with if plan A goes awry.
Bairstow added: ‘We’re bowling on the same pitch they bowled on. We’ve seen the pitch offer plenty throughout the day and we’ve got one end potentially open with a nightwatchman so we’ll look to put pressure on him and Harris to get some early inroads. We’re still in this game until the last ball is bowled.’