BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Livingstone and Bairstow must be part of rebuild

BUMBLE ON THE TEST: England’s batting is all over the place and talking about it again is boring after another Ashes collapse! Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow must be part of Test rebuild starting with West Indies tour

Australia completed a dominant 4-0 Ashes series victory over England on Sunday by winning the fifth day-night test by 146 runs with two days to spare.

England, set a target of 271 for victory, crashed to 124 all out in the last session on the third day at Hobart, losing 10 wickets for 56 after Zak Crawley (36) and Rory Burns (26) combined in the best opening stand of the series by putting on 68 runs.

Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD offers his thoughts and insights on the final day of this Ashes series.

There hasn’t been much wrong with England’s bowling in this Ashes. Mark Wood in particular has been heroic and bowled his heart out as Australia were dismissed for 155. But what happened then? The worst batting display of the lot. And it was so predictable….

It could have been even worse too because Pat Cummins was naive with his field at the start of England’s second innings. Both Rory Burns and Zak Crawley got boundaries through a vacant fourth slip. Ian Chappell, Allan Border and Ricky Ponting would have gone straight for England’s throat. Cummins was too conservative. Not that it mattered!

You can’t get away from the fact England’s batting problems are technical. Usman Khawaja and Travis Head are not Australia’s best players but they have succeeded by just playing proper cricket. England are all over the place. They might get away with it against bowling of 75 mph but they certainly won’t at 85 and above.

So, we are talking about yet another England collapse. It’s become boring! Our batters are just not capable of putting a solid performance together. But these are our best players. Ollie Pope averages 50 in first-class cricket and was our big hope not too long ago but just look at him. It’s too easy to just say ‘bin this lot and put others in.’ The problems run deep.

But I will give you two who should be going to the Caribbean with England in March. I might be shot down because they are from my county but I think I can spot a player. Saqib Mahmood is one but it is batters we need most and Liam Livingstone is an aggressive, no-nonsense one. His first-class record isn’t great but I just see a real performer there.

Liam Livingstone is part of England’s one-day setup but has to be part of the Test rebuild too

Another real player is Jonny Bairstow but it’s symptomatic of England’s mistakes that they have mucked him around far too much. Yes I’m a Bairstow fan but he’s made seven Test centuries and when England do have a good one they need to look after them properly. They just haven’t done that often enough. Jonny must be part of the Test re-build.

There are mitigating circumstances and one is the total lack of preparation. I go back to a function I did with Graham Gooch before the series and he said ‘I fear we’re going to get hammered. You can’t just turn up in Australia and play.’ There are reasons for the lack of warm-up games and Covid is one of them. But England were just woefully under-prepared.

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