Ashes 2019: ‘He missed a trick’ – Nasser Hussain questions Joe Root’s decision-making in Manchester Test
Former England captain Nasser Hussain hit out at current skipper Joe Root and questioned his decision-making after the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday. Steve Smith continued his outstanding Ashes form, striking an unbeaten 60 as Australia recovered from another failure by their openers to reach 170-3 at the close of the rain-affected opening day. Hussain stated the England missed a trick by not having a go at Smith, who put on 116 for the third wicket with Marnus Labuschagne before the latter was bowled by a beautiful delivery from Craig Overton for 67.
‘After everything that happened at Headingley, it all just felt a bit flat out there,” Hussain wrote in column for Daily Mail. “After the adrenaline rush Ben Stokes had given English cricket, you just wanted someone to charge in at Steve Smith. Australia’s best player is back in the side, and he didn’t really get a working-over.”
“I would question the decision-making that led him (Jofra Archer) to bowl only seven deliveries to Smith in the morning session, when England had an opening because of the two early wickets claimed by Stuart Broad.”
“Joe Root had two options. He could have bowled Archer for a longer first spell than the five overs he gave him, or he could have brought him back after Broad had finished his first spell. But he did neither,” Hussain added.
“And at no point did Root appear to ask him to go at Smith with bouncers from round the wicket for three or four overs. It just felt as if England didn’t quite read the situation. It didn’t help that, as a group, they bowled poorly too.”
Ominously for England, Smith, who has two centuries and a 92 to his name in the series, looked as if he had never been away as he calmly dealt with Joe Root’s attack. Travis Head was unbeaten on 18 at the close. The series is tied a 1-1 with two tests remaining and victory for the Australians would ensure they retain the urn.