How Ashes calamity ranks alongside other England drubbings


Aryan Surana

The England test side were shambolic Down Under this winter, seemingly on an eleven-man mission to put a dagger through the heart of English test cricket. The bookies never make England the favourites to win a tour in Australia, but there were at least some expectations amongst those who had used betting offers to back their sporting heroes who had delivered handsomely in bygone test series and World Cups. However, few people expected the sort of capitulation that saw England lucky to come away with a 4-0 result, with only the wicket of Jimmy Anderson standing between the Aussies and a famous 5-0 whitewash, that would have had bullish Australian betting punters jumping for joy.

It was a sorry showing from Joe Root's charges, made worse by the fact that the team's head coach, Chris Silverwood, appeared to shoulder little or none of the blame during post-match interviews. Now that the dust has settled, where does this bruising defeat rank alongside the England team's other embarrassments throughout history? All members of the Barmy Army should look away now!

Curtly Ambrose Rules Port of Spain in 1994

These days a tour to the West Indies is seen as a bit of a light touch for most major test nations, but that was far from the case back when the likes of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were steaming to the crease.

England had looked in near total control of the test at the Port of Spain in 1994, needing to knock off a modest 194 on what was supposed to be a flat pitch. But Ambrose had other ideas, tearing through the England line-up. Ambrose finished the second innings with figures of 6-24, having taken the same number of wickets in the first innings. It was the sort of collapse that was made famous during the period when flaky players like Angus Fraser and Michael Atherton were leading the side. Everyone thought those days were long gone for the England test team, and then they get bowled out for 68 on Boxing Day.

Caught Cold in Auckland in 2018

England travelled to New Zealand in 2018 full of hope that they could come away with a solid series victory. No sooner had they done the toss and put their pads on than the dressing room was in tatters, its top and middle order obliterated to the tune of 23-8. Only a rear-guard action from tail-ender Craig Overton meant England avoided setting the record for the lowest total ever scored in a test match, a record New Zealand still hold from back in 1955, when they were knocked over by the then England team for 26.

Headingley Falls Silent in 2019

While England teams that have operated during the 2000s have been more successful than the sides that went before them, their new attacking mentality has at times left them open to exploitation. Such was the case in the Ashes test that took place at Headingley in 2019, when Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson only needed 27.5 overs to skittle the entire England lineup for a measly 67.

It's one thing to collapse on away soil, against a bowling attack who know a ground inside and out, but it is quite another to fall on a pitch that Yorkshire players like Joe Root know all about.

In truth, England have continued to approach their test cricket in the same gung-ho spirit they did back in 2019. The difference now is that they do not have the star batsmen and bowlers to dig them out of a hole or hit back in similarly devastating fashion to salvage a series. Perhaps it's time for a rethink.