Boycott warns of Ashes 'annihilation' for England
'The glory days are over' says Geoff Boycott as England face the prospect of a whitewash
GEOFF BOYCOTT has warned England's cricketers they face "annihilation" Down Under.
The former Test batsman turned BBC pundit is evidently as stunned as the rest of the country by England’s ineptitude in the first two Tests of the Ashes series against Australia.
Beaten in Brisbane by 381 runs, England were trounced again in Adelaide over the weekend and now they must regroup before the third Test starts on Friday in Perth.
The Perth track will be hard and fast, manna from heaven for Mitchell Johnson, the Australian paceman who has terrorised England in the opening two Tests, taking 17 wickets at a cost of just 216 runs.
Lose in Perth and the Ashes will be Australia’s, and Boycott fears the hosts won’t let up in the final two Tests as they look to inflict a series whitewash on England. "They are like my side, Manchester United," Boycott told BBC Sport. "I think the glory days have gone. I don't think they are there as a team. It is all beginning to unravel."
Alastair Cook's side arrived in Australia with the intention of becoming the first England side to win four consecutive Ashes series, a feat last achieved in 1890.
Two of those series wins – in England in 2009 and Australia in 2010/11 – were emphatic, but though England claimed a third triumph last summer (3-0) there were signs even then that parts of the team were malfunctioning. But the brilliance of Ian Bell’s batting – allied to some fortunate rain interruptions – saved England.
Not so in Australia where the sun has beaten down on one pitiful England batting performance after another. The tourists have passed 200 only once in four innings and it’s the manner of many of the dismissals that bemuses Boycott.
"The worst thing is that this performance [Adelaide] was no different from Brisbane," he said. "We are giving wickets away by pulling and hooking and getting out at fine leg and square leg. You can't win a Test match if you can't bat. If you keep making poor totals you are always under pressure.”
Asked why it was that England have gone from heroes to zeroes in less than a month, Boycott replied: "We don't seem to have a mindset to stay in and make them bowl us out. We are playing cricket like a 50-over game – crash, bang, wallop and out. That won't win Test matches. You have got to make steady innings…it is like chess – you can't win a chess game in the first few moves but you can sure as hell lose it."
With no England batsman showing form, or the stomach for a fight, Boycott believes it’s going to be a bleak Christmas for cricket fans. "We have won three series comfortably,” he said, “but we are going to get annihilated in this one.” ·