England must make wholesale changes to save the Ashes
The impulse now will be to panic, and panic they should – England's issues are mounting fast, while Australia look stronger than they have in years.
If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious, England are tired.
Six weeks of World Cup cricket, ending with the highest of highs, has left them physically and emotionally drained.
That much was clear as they were bowled out for 85 on the first morning against Ireland, but an eventual 143-run win papered over the cracks.
There has, however, been nothing to hide behind after the first Test of the 2019 Ashes series, with Australia winning by 251 runs.
Day five was a painful blur for England as Australia romped to a win which, in the end, was embarrassingly easy.
The impulse now will be to panic, and panic they should. Their issues are mounting fast, while Australia look stronger than they have in years.
Jason Roy showed flashes of brilliance but his brainless dismissal on the final day seemed to confirm suspicions about his ability to open the batting in the Test arena. A move down the order is needed.
Joe Denly showed nothing at all to suggest he should have even been picked in the first place, with scores of 18 and 11 confirming the obvious: that he needs to be dropped.
Jonny Bairstow’s tired dismissal in the first innings, wafting aimlessly outside off stump, and his untidy work behind the stumps showed that he is in some of the worst form of his England career – he deserves a rest.
And, most worryingly, there is Moeen Ali. The all-rounder, for so long a fixture of this England team, looks a shell of himself. He can’t buy a run nor hold down an end – a spell back at New Road, out of the spotlight, is the obvious remedy.
Wholesale changes must therefore be made for the second Test at Lord’s if England are to have any chance of clawing this back. Another poor performance at Lord’s and the Ashes are as good as gone.
Dominic Sibley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach and Jofra Archer all must come into the side, with Denly, Bairstow, Ali and the injured James Anderson dropping out.
The selectors may be reluctant to make so many changes, but picking players on reputation and not form rarely pays off.
Archer’s late introduction to the World Cup team proves that there are players ready to step up, and Ed Smith and James Taylor must remember that.
If they take the easy option, then a first home Ashes defeat since 2001 seems almost inevitable.
My team for the second Test: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.
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