Cricket: Captain concedes English have 'areas to improve on...'

By Nick Hoult

England Twenty20 cricket team captain Stuart Broad. Photo / Brett Phibbs
England Twenty20 cricket team captain Stuart Broad. Photo / Brett Phibbs

There were laughs in the crowd when Stuart Broad produced with a straight face one of cricket's great understatements when he admitted at the presentation ceremony that England had "areas to improve on" after Australia sealed another whitewash.

Australia's 84-run victory was a landslide in T20 terms and it sent England home after 102 days in this country having lost 12 matches, their most international defeats on one tour.

During six months these two sides have contested a marathon and after 26 games England have fallen miles behind with Australia winning 15-7 (two tests were drawn and two one-dayers rained off).

England had chances in the one-day series and opportunities in the tests but the T20 series has been the most one-sided contest of all on a shambolic tour.

The top-order batsmen are supposed to be T20 specialists but they appear lacking in know-how, continuing to slog their wickets away instantly.

The highest score by an England top three batsman was 22 across the entire series.

The fielding standards have been poor with dropped catches and missed run-outs while the seam bowling is being carried by Broad, although Chris Jordan had a decent debut. The spin bowling stocks are so short and untrusted that England did not pick a specialist slow bowler, possibly the most alarming aspect as a World T20 looms on the slow tracks of Bangladesh. Making a case for not including Kevin Pietersen in this team would challenge the most imaginative debater.

Ashley Giles' livelihood is on the line over the next few weeks and he did not fudge the facts.

"At times during this series we have been sloppy and made some schoolboy errors," he admitted. "It is across all areas. In three matches we have been three down at the end of the powerplay. At times we have bowled well but then lacked a plan and execution of a plan to finish it off and in the field we continue to drop catches.

"The Aussies have outfielded, outbowled and outbatted us and that should be a real wake-up call."

England dragged their weary bodies to the airport just hours after being bowled out for 111 with 16 balls remaining in the match and having narrowly missed by six runs their worst T20 defeat.

England dropped three catches and missed a run-out while Australia caught brilliantly and fielded well within the circle all evening. Australia slotted 13 sixes, eight of them over the short straight boundary as England's bowlers bowled the wrong length. England by contrast had five batsmen caught on the square leg boundary as Australia forced them to go for their boundaries to the longest hit in the ground by not offering them easy shots over the top.

George Bailey was the Australia captain when England romped home in the first match of the 26 against England in the Champions Trophy in June. He completed the reversal of fortunes on Sunday, smashing 26 off the final over bowled by Jade Dernbach. Bailey's 49 off 20 balls lifted Australia's total to a commanding 195.

Dernbach's last delivery brought an edge down to third man for a scampered two but there was time to add one more example to the long list of fielding errors as Jos Buttler fouled up the run-out when he missed trying to knock off the bails.

It was always going to be a challenging chase for a team bereft of confidence and once again only Morgan showed any threat. He was the sole England batsman capable of unsettling the Australian bowlers, using his quick feet and hands to exploit the straight boundary.

There was time for James Muirhead, the 20-year-old leggie, to thrill his mentor Shane Warne with two English wickets before a final farcical run-out of last man Dernbach capped the tour off.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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