London: England have “given the first Test away” after a shambolic first innings collapse against Australia in Brisbane on Friday, according to former opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott.
After delighting in Stuart Broad’s superb bowling performance which gave England the upper hand on the first day of the Ashes series on Thursday, England fans woke up on Friday to discover they had been bowled out for 136.
A mid-afternoon collapse, in which England lost six wickets for nine runs, allowed Australia to seize control, moving 224 runs ahead with all their second innings wickets intact.
“It’s been decent bowling by Australia, but the batting has been pathetic,” Boycott, commentating for BBC radio, said of the day’s play at the Gabba, which begun with Australia’s first innings being wrapped up for 285.
“They’ve played some poor shots. The problem is we’ve seen it all before. It’s very sad to see them almost give away the Test match like this. “It will take a dramatic performance to bowl Australia out and then produce a batting display with no mistakes. They’ve just about gifted the match to Australia.”
Boycott also accused England’s batsmen of playing Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon as if he were bowling down “hand grenades” after he took two wickets.
Graeme Swann summed up the mood in the camp when he said on Twitter: “On a scale of one to ten that day at the Gabba was a minus six #howler”.
Michael Vaughan, also watching the carnage from the safety of the commentary box, applauded pace bowler Mitchell Johnson’s spell of four for 61.
“What we saw today was quick bowling at its best. Mitchell Johnson changed the course of the match, as did Ryan Harris,” Vaughan said.
“For the first time, questions are being asked about (Jonathan) Trott against pace. Mitchell Johnson roughed him up and his feet were all over the place.”
Despite it being a poor day for Alastair Cook and Company, Vaughan said it summed up the magic of Test cricket.
“The roar of a crowd... bouncy pitch. (Reuters)