Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has revealed where England went wrong in the first Test of the on-going Ashes series at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Australia established a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after outplaying the hosts by two wickets on Day 5 of the opening Test (June 20).
Stokes permitted Joe Root to bowl one more over with the old ball after the 80th over on the fifth day, rather than taking the new ball that was available. However, their efforts were rewarded when Australia’s score was 227/8 when keeper-batter Alex Carey was ejected.
In contrast, Cummins and Nathan Lyon led the assault for the visitors, capitalising on England’s decision to continue with the old ball. England took the new ball after the 85th over, but both Australian hitters had already had their eyes in.
Harbhajan Singh said Cummins deserved a lot of credit for his performance, calling it a captain’s innings coming down the order.
The Australian skipper scored an undefeated 44 from 73 deliveries, while Lyon provided 16* runs off 28 deliveries to help the team win.
Stokes, according to the former India off-spinner, made a mistake on the final day by not going for the new ball as soon as it became available.
Harbhajan Singh on what cost England the 1st Test of the Ashes
“Pat Cummins has to be praised for his knock, he played a captain’s innings coming down the order. Ben Stokes made a mistake by not going for the new ball, they delayed it too much,”
Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda.
He went on to explain that England thought they could easily get rid of Cummins and Lyon with the old ball, but they fell short in the face of Australia’s counter-attack. Notably, the pair put up a 55-run unbroken partnership for the ninth wicket.
“England thought they would get Cummins and Lyon with the old ball as well, but Australia stepped up with a counter-attack instead,”
After dismissing Carey, Harbhajan stated that Stokes should have taken the new ball. The emphasis is now on England, but given on their performance thus far, he feels they will stage a dramatic comeback in the series.
“You never know with the new ball; he should have taken it after Carey was dismissed. By the time it was taken, both Cummins and Lyon were settled. Now the pressure will be on England, but the way they have played so far, I think they will come back strongly,”
the former cricketer concluded.
For more Sports updates please follow us on Twitter