It was hard to argue too much in the sense that the Australian trio of quicks, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, are ruthless when they get a glimpse of the tail and have been all series.
But after six English wickets fell for 35 runs in the space of 52 minutes, the sense that a whole load of hard work, sweat and toil had just unravelled before the eyes was difficult to escape.
The optical illusion was that England’s collapse in the first innings here was softened by some superb batting before it which had lifted them to 368-4 from 131-4 on day one.
But the speed at which Starc and co can scythe through the bottom six of England’s line-up is a cause for real concern in a series where there is no margin for error left.
“We just knew if we got a breakthrough the new batsmen would find it tough coming in,” said Australian batsman Khawaja. “The WACA is always a tough wicket to start up on with its pace and leading in to their tail you know that getting one wicket leads to another wicket.”
He added: “It’s never easy as a tail ender.”
There was the odd warning sign in the summer, including at Trent Bridge against South Africa when England twice withered losing 6-37 and 6-49 in two innings. But here in Australia the patterns have been alarmingly consistent.
In Brisbane, England slumped from 246-4 to 302 all out losing their last six wickets for 56. In the second innings they lost 6-82.
At Adelaide they fared marginally better in a match they competed harder for losing 6-125 in the first and 6-64 in the second – the latter particularly galling considering how hard they had worked to get to 176-4 chasing another 178.
The why is obvious, namely, that England’s tail cannot adequately deal with the Aussie pace, whether it is aimed at their heads or their toes (it is mainly their heads).
England’s 9 to 11 are averaging 11.50 a man against Australia’s 24.16 but those figures are massaged a touch by Craig Overton’s 41 not out in Adelaide.
Jonny Bairstow appeared to concede that England’s lower order are just not equipped to deal with what is coming their way.
“Their plans when it comes to the tail they have made very clear,” he said. “And they are fortunate to have three guys capable bowling upwards of 90mph. That is a gameplan they are able to utilise and they have used it very well.”
England have appeared better against the short ball in patches. Dawid Malan got a peppering at the start of his innings but hooked or pulled successfully to a point where after an initial barrage of nearly three in four short Australia gave up just over one in three.
Stuart Broad and Craig Overton have also shown some courage and a willingness to fight fire with fire including the former bringing up England’s 400 with a huge pulled six on day two here in Perth but there is only so much the bowlers can do.
Source : EXPRESS