'Broad shows how ridiculous it was to leave him out in Brisbane'
Rob Key says Stuart Broad dismissing David Warner yet again shows how unwise England were to leave him out in Brisbane.Broad had Warner caught behind for 30 on day one of the fourth Test in Sydney as he removed the batter for the eighth time in his last seven Tests against Australia.
Zak Crawley has suggested that the decline in England’s Test batting is partly due to the “poor pitches” on offer in county cricket.
A one-sided Ashes defeat featuring three hammerings followed by last week’s nail-biting draw in Sydney has led to a familiar bout of soul searching in the English game.
One of the most conspicuous problems is the team’s frequent inability to post significant totals – a problem that starts from the very top of the order.
Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Crawley himself – until a free-flowing 77 on day five at the SCG, at least – have proved easy pickings for the Australia attack and the likes of Joe Denly and Keaton Jennings have fared no better previously.
Pope to keep as England sweat on hurt trio
England have confirmed Ollie Pope will keep in Australia's second innings at the SCG with Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow both nursing injuries.Pope has taken to the field as a substitute fielder with the gloves, after the under-fire Buttler injured his left index finger earlier in the match.
The skills needed to bat long and score big on a consistent basis appear to be in short supply and Crawley, 23, believes the deck is stacked against those who are trying to do so in the domestic game.
To see him at his best on Sunday – pulling the world’s number one bowler Pat Cummins hard in front of square or using his height to drive lavishly through the covers – it is easy to imagine him being a dominant figure in county cricket.
And, yet, he sits on a truly modest first-class average of 31.21 over four years with Kent.
Batting on poor pitches
“I feel like it’s been very hard to open the batting. The pitches have been very favourable to bowlers my whole career.
“At my best I’ve obviously shown something the England selectors have enjoyed, so I got picked with an average of 30. That is less than normal but there aren’t too many openers averaging a lot more than that at the moment.
McLaren "Strict against" raising the cost cover for F1 sprints
Crawley’s words are sure to raise a few objections, from ground staff if nobody else but, in an environment where administrators are asking serious questions about the ability of the domestic game to produce international quality players, they could find a sympathetic audience.
“Obviously I’d like the pitch at Canterbury to be a little bit better – I don’t think it’s unfair of me to say – but I don’t think it’s just a Kent thing,” he said.
“I think pretty much all the grounds I’ve played on have been pretty poor. I can think of about two or three where I’ve got to them thinking ‘this is a really good wicket’.
Khawaja gets nod over Harris for fifth Test, Boland may be out
Pat Cummins has full faith in Usman Khawaja moving into the unusual role of opener after he got the nod over Marcus Harris for the final Test of the Ashes against England in Hobart, starting on Friday. Khawaja will open the batting alongside his childhood friend and former NSW teammate David Warner with Travis Head reclaiming the No.5 spot in the batting order after sitting out the drawn fourth Test against England in Sydney after contracting COVID-19.
“So, it’d be tough for me to find somewhere maybe a bit flatter. I think it’s more a country-wide problem and I think it will help our Test team a lot if pitches did start getting better.”
“I would have said the 267 was a springboard for me and 2021, it certainly wasn’t,” he said.
“I watch that innings frequently when I’m going through bad form, to be honest, because it is a nice reminder that I’ve done it before and I can do it again.
“Sometimes if you are feeling a bit rough, you can lose sight of the fact that you can play and it’s always nice to remind yourself.
“I played really nicely that day but I feel like I’m a better player now and that’s because of the failures I had last year. It was all a great learning curve.
“You tend to learn more from your failures than your successes actually and it wasn’t the year I wanted. But I learned a lot about myself and my game and I feel like I can push on from it and become a better player.”
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