Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Alastair Cook’s men had been “bullied” after Australia won the first Ashes Test in Brisbane by the huge margin of 381 runs yesterday.
England, bidding to win a fourth successive Test series against arch-rivals Australia, started well by reducing the hosts to 132 for six in their first innings before they recovered to 295 all out.
But England suffered an even more severe slump to be bowled out for just 136 in reply, with rejuvenated left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson leading the way as Cook’s men suffered a spectacular collapse that saw six wickets lost for nine runs.
Australia captain Michael Clarke and David Warner pressed home the hosts advantage with second innings hundreds before England were bowled out for 179 with more than a day to spare.
“It’s very worrying (to have lost so heavily),” Hussain told Sky Sports. “They were bullied. It wasn’t as though Australia started well and they continued — England were bossing the game.
“On Day One they were in control, all the memories of the summer (England retained the Ashes with a 3-0 series win on home soil earlier this year) were still there, they were playing well and since then it’s just been an absolute shambles.
“A lot of it has to do with the opposition, Mitchell Johnson is unrecognisable from the bowler we have seen in previous Ashes battles, the confidence and the togetherness are unrecognisable from the team we saw in England, thanks to (coach) Darren Lehmann.”
Ian Botham, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker and the scourge of Australia during his playing days, laid the blame for defeat squarely on the tourists’ top order.
“The batsmen need to have a long look at themselves — how many of them were got out rather than getting out,” the former all-rounder said. “It was just a matter of when (England would lose).
It’s just not good enough and we’ve got this habit of doing this (batting badly) in a first Test. “When you are bowled out for 136 on a shirt front (of a pitch) which that is - and still is - then you are out of the game.”
Meanwhile Australia leg-spin great Shane Warne said victory was just reward for the work done by Clarke and Lehmann to rebuild morale following the controversial reign of former coach Mickey Arthur, which ended when the South African was sacked shortly before this year’s Ashes in England.
“Towards the end of the Ashes series (in England) you just started to see the guys smile a bit more and that was Darren Lehmann’s influence,” Warne said.
“Some of the things he has brought in, in combination with Michael Clarke, has been fantastic. If you have a happy dressing room and you are a happy cricketer, it shows out on the field.”
He added: “This one for Australia was important — to be in the contest they had to win the Test match. The way they have won, from six for 132 to win like this, shows a lot of character.”
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