Sydney, Jan 10 : Former England captain Nasser Hussain applauded Joe Root and co. for showing ‘phenomenal’ character and fight in drawing the fourth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He also lauded England for their defiant display despite injuries to players and missing majority of coaching staff due to Covid-19. England batted for 102 overs on the final day to force a draw against Australia and avoided a 4-0 scoreline in the series.
“After everything that has gone on in Australia and, in the context of the last two years, the character and fight shown by England in drawing the fourth Test was phenomenal. They have been through a lot and have been getting hammered because of their performances in this Ashes. So to have the strength to put on that performance at 3-0 down, without half their coaching staff and with injuries to key players, is commendable,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.
Hussain pointed out England had done the job of drawing the match despite being 36/4 in the first innings. “It did look like the whitewash was inevitable when England were 36 for four in their first innings, the true low point of this tour, and England had to dig very deep to pull that escape off. Yes, it’s only a draw and, yes, England were nine down at the close but it was very pleasing for all England fans to finally have something to be happy about.”
Hussain picked opener Zak Crawley, who scored an impressive 77 in the second innings, to be the highlight of day five in the fourth Ashes Test. “For me the highlight on Sunday was the performance of Zak Crawley. Seeing him start his innings on the fourth evening against high quality bowlers on a pitch that had deteriorated – but maybe not as much as expected, hence Pat Cummins late declaration – and then come back and put the pressure back on Australia was very encouraging.”
“Crawley was putting away anything loose with grace, style and timing in his 77 and that fluency was great to see after all England’s, and his own, problems at the top of the order. And it showed you cannot have a top three that are purely looking to survive. It’s odd to say someone who averaged 10 last year in Test cricket is worth investing in but Crawley deserves a good run in the side again now.”
The 53-year-old signed off by saying England’s nail-biting draw at Sydney has made things easy for them ahead of the fifth Test, a day-night affair, at Hobart. “England will also know that the journey to Hobart for the final Test has just got that little bit easier. When they turn up to Sydney Airport they will be getting just that little less abuse than if it had been 4-0 and they would have been dragging their chins on the floor.”
“With all the injuries and with Jos Buttler going home with that fractured finger, the week ahead would have been so much worse had England failed to hang on at the SCG. Now they can try to build on this in the final Test and keep that momentum going.”