‘I’d pick same two teams’ – Silverwood

‘I’d pick same two teams’ – Silverwood


Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Date: 26-30 December Time: 23:00 GMT (25-29 December)
Coverage: Daily highlights show on BBC iPlayer, ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special, plus live text commentary, UK-only clips, features and analysis on the BBC Sport website and app

England coach Chris Silverwood says he would pick the same two teams again despite the tourists going 2-0 down in the Ashes against Australia.

England lost the first Test in Brisbane by nine wickets, before another heavy defeat by 275 runs in the second Test in Adelaide on Monday.

The choice of bowling attack in each match has been questioned by many pundits and commentators.

“There is always going to be divided opinion,” Silverwood told BBC Sport.

“You pick a team and not everybody’s going to agree with you.”

When asked by BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew if he would pick the same starting sides for the two Tests again, Silverwood said: “To be honest, I would.”

England left highest Test wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the first Test, where left-arm spinner Jack Leach was targeted by Australia, taking 1-102 off just 13 overs.

Anderson was rested as a precaution, but Broad said he was “ready to go” at the Gabba, with Australia captain Pat Cummins “surprised” by Broad’s omission.

Anderson and Broad were recalled, while Leach and fast bowler Mark Wood were dropped, for the day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval.

England hoped Anderson and Broad would exploit conditions to find greater movement with the pink ball under floodlights, but looked most threatening in the day at the start of day four, while fellow seamer Chris Woakes rarely threatened in taking 1-149 overall.

Spinners took 10 of the 38 wickets to fall at Adelaide and, without a frontline spinner, England relied on Joe Root’s off-spin and Dawid Malan’s part-time leg-spin, while seam bowler Ollie Robinson also bowled off-spin for a spell while Root was off the field for a scan.

The extra pace of Mitchell Starc and off-spinner Nathan Lyon’s ability to extract turn and bounce troubled England throughout, with the pair taking 11 wickets in total.

“I was happy with the skillset we had in the pink-ball Test, so I would pick the same team again,” added Silverwood.

Ponting ‘nearly fell off chair’ at Root comments

After the second Test, a visibly frustrated Root said England made the “same mistakes” and needed to “bowl fuller” and be “braver” in pitching the ball up.

The second Test followed a similar pattern to England’s defeat in Adelaide four years ago when they were also criticised for bowling too short.

England took three wickets for seven runs at the start of day four in Australia’s second innings when bowling a fuller length.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said he “nearly fell off my seat” when he heard Root’s comments.

Speaking to Cricket Australia’s news site, he said: “Why are you captain then?

“If you can’t influence your bowlers on what length to bowl, what are you doing on the field?”

Root said the plans had been “well communicated” but that “people get caught up in the emotion of the game”.

Silverwood said he had “no problem” with Root’s comments and England “potentially” could have bowled fuller on day one after Australia won the toss and batted.

“It was fine margins between being slightly fuller and getting driven and holding the game,” Silverwood added.

“The captain is out there, he wants them to bowl a touch fuller, and when we did we caused problems. So I’ve got no problems with what he said.

“We have to be prepared to set fields that will give bowlers protection as well, and that’s what Joe was getting at – if you pitch it up a little bit you create problems.”

Root also criticised England’s batting and fielding, with Silverwood adding they are “looking at” options to possibly replace out-of-form batters.

“We need runs and that’s the top and bottom of it,” he said.

“How do we get 400 on the table first up? All options are on the table.”

‘Real desire’ to get back into series

England have never come from 2-0 down to win the Ashes in the series’ 139-year history.

They suffered a 4-0 series defeat in 2017-18 on the back of a 5-0 thrashing in 2013-14 down under.

Steve Smith, who was leading Australia in place of the absent Cummins, said the hosts would “love” to inflict another 5-0 whitewash on England.

“I don’t look at stuff like that,” said Silverwood. “But we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen and make sure we’re up for the next game.

“I sense a real desire to get back into the series and I sense they will.”

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