If the innings and 14-run defeat to Australia in the third Test at the MCG in Melbourne and losing the Ashes – Australia retained the Ashes by taking an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series – was not disappointing enough for England, the touring side also equalled an 18-year-old unwanted Test record. With the crushing defeat in Melbourne on Tuesday, England equalled the record of most defeats by a Test side in a calendar year. This was England’s 9th loss in 2021. Bangladesh had lost the same number of Test matches back in 2003.
The Joe Root-led side lost five Tests against India – two home and three away, one to New Zealand (home) and three against Australia (away) this year. The only highlight was their 2-0 series away series victory in Sri Lanka earlier in 2021.
England were bowled out for 68 in just 27.4 overs in their second innings as the Boxing Day Test match ended in less than two and a half days.
“We have to make sure when we get our opportunities to get ahead we take them,” said Root, adding that England should have scored 250-plus in their first innings rather than slump to 185 all out.
“If we had we would have been very much in the game and we would have been looking at a very different game.
“But last night was an outstanding spell of bowling from their attack and you just have to find a way to get through it. Sometimes it has to just be an hour’s hard grind.”
A hostile spell from Australia in the last hour on Monday effectively won them the match, reducing England to 31 for four, still 51 runs behind.
“We knew going into today we were more than capable of getting ourselves a score and it’s really disappointing that we didn’t manage to do that,” added Root, who must now lift his demoralised team for the fourth Test.