A frustrated Dawid Malan said England have to stop losing wickets in rapid succession after another batting collapse on day three of the second Ashes Test.
Australia made sure the tourists’ hope of reclaiming the urn is fading fast by skittling out England for 236, before moving to 45 for one at stumps, a tidy lead of 282.
That was after the day had begun well as Malan (80) and Joe Root (62) led a revival to 150 for two before Australia hit back after lunch. England contrived to lose eight wickets for 86 runs – in Brisbane it was eight for 74 – and Malan was adamant these collapses cannot keep happening.
He told BT Sport: “It is a little bit of a trend, it is something we did on the last tour and we did this in the last Test here as well. We get a little bit of momentum and a partnership going and when the Aussies get one wicket they take two or three in clusters and we can go from 150 for two to 180 for six and we are chasing it again.
“We need to get better when we lose that one wicket to make sure we get another partnership going as quickly as possible.
“After we lost those two wickets last night we needed to get a partnership going, which myself and Rooty got. We got ourselves into a half-decent position and once again when the Aussies got that door open they just jumped straight through it.
“It is disappointing, frustrating that we have got ourselves back into the fight but we lost too many wickets in clusters there.
“I didn’t play a great shot. When you get to 80 you want to be making them count, especially out here, so to get out how I got out was disappointed. A few of us played shots we will look back and wish we didn’t but that’s cricket.”
Malan’s partnership with Root was the second time in the series they have shared a lengthy stand and he enjoys batting with his captain.
“He is one of the best batters to have played the game,” Malan said. “If you look at his numbers and where he has done it, to be able to watch him and learn how he goes about it, every innings he seems to find another way to score runs.”
England missed a chance to get themselves back in the match as they took only one wicket under the lights in the evening session and Malan accepts avoid defeat and going two down in the series is going to be tough.
“We got that one wicket so hopefully we can have a crazy hour or two somewhere,” he said. “We have to take wickets and to try and put them under as much pressure as we can and then bat for a very long period.”
England’s lack of batting fortitude was criticised by their former captain Alastair Cook who said they are making rudimentary mistakes.
“It is all too familiar and it is incredibly frustrating for the players, the coaches. You can’t afford to lose wickets in clusters,” he said on BT Sport.
“You have got batting coaches saying: ‘If you lose a wicket you have to rebuild’, all the stuff you tell 13-year-olds in team meetings, and unfortunately they are not learning lessons. They are not being good enough when they are put under pressure as a batting unit.
“When one wicket falls Australia are brilliant at seizing that opportunity for 20 minutes. Starting your innings on a flat wicket is so important. Australia go all in and England haven’t been good enough to withstand that.”
Cook is not holding any real hope for England salvaging the match. “That was the big chance to get back into the series and bat big and Root and Malan were excellent,” he said.
“As soon as the talisman went second or third over after lunch, [England lost] four for 19, you just cannot afford to do this on flat wickets time and time again because in 45 minutes the game is almost out of reach already.”