ENGLAND tumbled to a crushing defeat in the First Test after a pathetic batting collapse on the fourth day.
The hope generated by the third-wicket partnership between Joe Root and Dawid Malan quickly evaporated and England ended up being thrashed by nine wickets.
It means their hopes of regaining the Ashes – remember, the Aussies hold the little urn – are somewhere between slim and non-existent.
England’s batsmen self-combusted with a series of anaemic shots and their last eight wickets fell for just 74 runs.
Captain Root admitted: “It’s very frustrating because we worked really hard to get ourselves back in the game and we knew how important it was to try to get through to the new ball today unscathed.
“If we had carried our partnership forward, we could have given ourselves an opportunity. You saw how the pitch was playing with sideways movement and the cracks were appearing.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t get through that initial period. But there are good things to take from this game – notably, the bowling effort – and we must come back stronger in the Second Test.”
England made bad decisions by leaving out Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson and deciding to bat after winning the toss. And, once the game started, they were outplayed.
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The stand between Root and Malan was soon terminated on the fourth morning.
Left-hander Malan advanced down the pitch to Nathan Lyon, jammed the ball into his pad and it plopped into Marnus Labuschagne’s hands at silly point.
It was off-spinner Lyon’s 400th Test wicket.
Then the big one, the calamitous one for England. Root poked at a ball from all-rounder Cameron Green and edged a catch behind for 89.
It was Root’s highest score in a Test match in Australia but England needed more from him, plenty more.
The ball seamed a little off the pitch but Root will realise that he didn’t need to play at it.
Lyon took his second wicket of the morning session when Ollie Pope tried to cut a delivery that was too close to him for the shot.
It was the first ball Pope had faced from Lyon and, once again, the Surrey batsmen looked frantic and rushed against a spin bowler. It is a significant drawback if he is to become a major international batsman.
Ben Stokes has endured a disappointing return to cricket after a self-imposed exile to look after his mental health and get his troublesome left index finger fixed.
He made five in the first innings and his bowling was restricted by a wrenched left knee. Stokes managed just 14 in the second innings before getting into a terrible muddle against Pat Cummins and skewing a catch to gully.
Jos Buttler edged a ball he could have left alone and then Ollie Robinson, whose batting for England has been as disappointing as his bowling has been impressive, attempted a ridiculous reverse sweep against Lyon and was caught at point.
A “catastrophic” power outage at the ground meant the world feed of TV pictures went down, along with the Decision Review System.
So nobody across the globe could see what was happening for 20 minutes although that was at least a period when no wickets fell. Or maybe it would have been better if some of the wickets were invisible.
Mark Wood was bowled by Lyon as he aimed a wishy-washy drive and then Chris Woakes was caught behind aiming an uppercut against Green.
The Aussies needed just 20 runs and, with regular opener David Warner nursing bruised ribs, debutant wicketkeeper Alex Carey went in first with Marcus Harris.
Carey was caught behind off Robinson but the inevitable end came with a square drive for four by Harris off Wood.
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