'They have become so reliant on Joe Root': Michael Atherton slams England after Gabba defeat in Ashes 2021

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Dec 12, 2021, 01:13 PM IST


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Former England skipper Michael Atherton has slammed the visitors for their poor show in the 9-wicket defeat against Australia in the Ashes 2021-22 opener at The Gabba.

Former England captain Michael Atherton has lashed out at the visitors after their poor show in the series-opener of the ongoing Ashes 2021-22 against Australia at The Gabba in Brisbane. England suffered a humiliating 9-wicket defeat in the first Test as Australia went 1-0 up in the series with a comprehensive win.

England were in a great position at stumps on Day 3 with 223/2 on the board, however, Joe Root & Co. suffered a terrible collapse and were bundled out for just 297 runs. England managed to set up a target of a mere 20 runs for the hosts in their second innings which Australia chased down comfortably with nine wickets to spare to register a massive victory.

Captain Joe Root was once again the saviour for England in their second innings as he helped the team stage a fightback with a brilliant knock of 89 runs along with Dawid Malan (82), however, the duo's departure led to the English batting line-up crumbling under pressure. Atherton slammed England for being overreliant on Root.

"If you look at England in the last dozen Tests... they've become so reliant on Root. And if England are going to do well in Australia, you'd think he's going to have to have a productive series, but he needs others around him to support him as well," Atherton wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

Atherton felt England were underprepared for the first Test against the Aussies and sympathised with the visitors reasoning that the current conditions due to COVID-19 have taken a toll on the team's preparations and performances on the pitch.

"Malan batted well ... but England's batting in both innings, other than that one partnership, was poor and that's going to cost them. They were completely under-prepared, and I have a lot of sympathy for them in this regard.

"There is the COVID pandemic which has necessitated the kind of schedule they had but then the torrential rains in Queensland just knocked out the minimal preparation they had been given or had given themselves," said Atherton, who led England in 54 Test matches.

England will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Australia in the second Test of Ashes 2021 that gets underway from Thursday (December 16). The second Test will be a pink-ball game which will be played at the Adelaide Oval.