TOP SPIN AT THE TEST: England’s opening partnership average worst since 1876-77


TOP SPIN AT THE TEST: England’s opening partnership average of 7.60 is the visitors’ worst figure since their FIRST EVER Test tour back in 1876-77 as Haseeb Hameed brings up tourists’ FIFTIETH duck of 2021 on miserable first day in Melbourne

  • Joe Root has equalled the record for most half centuries without 100 in Australia 
  • The England star’s 50 was his ninth half century without reaching three figures 
  • Root’s tally at the MCG moved him to the third highest yearly total of all time 
  • Haseeb Hameed brought up England’s fiftieth duck of the calendar year 
  • REPORT: England flounder once again on miserable first day in Melbourne 











England floundered again in Australia with a miserable opening day of the Boxing Day Test leaving their hopes of salvaging the Ashes in serious trouble.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bowl and captain Pat Cummins skittled through England’s top order, with poor decision making and shot selection at the heart of the visitors’ woeful total of 185 runs.

The first day in Melbourne served to highlight, once more, the gulf in class between the two sides and Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth provides the harrowing stats that make for grim reading this morning.   

Joe Root equalled the record for most half-centuries without reaching a ton in Australia

Joe Root has now made nine half-centuries in Australia without reaching three figures – equalling Australian opener Bruce Laird’s record in this country. 

Three players have made eight fifties here without a hundred: Shane Warne, Nasser Hussain and Tom Hayward, an England opener from the early 20th century.

The England captain's 50 at the MCG was his ninth half century without going onto score 100

The England captain’s 50 at the MCG was his ninth half century without going onto score 100

By moving to 1,680 Test runs in 2021, Root moved up to third on all the time-list for the highest tally in a single year, passing former South African captain Graeme Smith’s 1,656 in 2008. 

Only Viv Richards (1,710 in 1976) and Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 in 2006) are ahead of him.

When Haseeb Hameed was caught behind off Pat Cummins’s fifth ball, he brought up England’s 50th duck of 2021. Barring a meltdown in their second innings, they should at least not now break their own world record of 54, set in 1998.

England opener Haseeb Hameed brought up England's fiftieth duck of the calendar year

England opener Haseeb Hameed brought up England’s fiftieth duck of the calendar year

Hameed’s partnership of four with Zak Crawley took the aggregate for England’s opening stands in this series to 38 runs at an average of 7.60. 

Only once before has their first-wicket partnership fared worse in Australia – back in 1876-77, the very first Test tour of them all.

England have now been dismissed for fewer than 200 on 12 occasions in 2021. And they have failed to reach 300 a further six times.

England's opening partnership average of 7.60 is their worst in Australia since 1876-77

England’s opening partnership average of 7.60 is their worst in Australia since 1876-77

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