Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels Joe Root and co. missed a trick by not picking Jack Leach in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide. Hussain said that Nathan Lyon gaining turn and bounce from the deck was a stark reminder of England's wrong decision to play four seamers.
England's decision to pick James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson didn't pay off as much as they would've liked. The tourists conceded a first-innings total of 473, and are staring at a heavy defeat on day five.
"I’ve got complete admiration for Lyon. It’s bloody difficult bowling finger spin in Australia, but he has become a wonderful bowler and has more than 400 Test wickets to his name. He was beating England’s left-handers' ball after ball, and he was all over a right-hander in Ollie Pope like a rash in the first innings."
"The sight of Ollie Robinson bowling off-spin summed it all up. Joe Root not only had to fill the role of spinner, but England had to turn to a seamer to bowl spin, along with Dawid Malan’s occasional leg-spin, to fill the gaps in the attack."
Robinson bowled a few overs of off-spin in Australia's second innings on day four. Although the 28-year old didn't take a wicket with his spin-bowling, it helped England solve their over-rate struggles slightly. However, Robinson dismissed Steve Smith and Travis Head with his seam bowling.
"England clearly do not rate Jack Leach" - Nasser Hussain
Hussain questioned England for not playing left-arm spinner Jack Leach on a conducive track like Adelaide. Concluding how Australia trusts Lyon to do the job compared to the visitors' mindset about Leach, Hussain added:
"If Jack leach is not going to play at Adelaide on that pitch, when will he? The first innings demonstrated the difference in attitude towards spin of these sides. Root bowled 20 overs out of 150, but then Lyon sent down 28 out of the 84 overs it took Australia to bowl England out."
"It’s just a completely different mindset. England clearly do not rate Leach, and believe Root can do just as good a job with the ball."
England need a miracle on day five from Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope. They will resume the final day on 82-4, chasing an improbable 468 to win.
Notably, the tourists lost captain Joe Root on the final delivery of day four.