Michael Vaughan calls England approach ‘silly and stupid’ after batting collapse

Michael Vaughan calls England approach ‘silly and stupid’ after batting collapse

Michael Vaughan criticised England’s “silly and stupid” ploy to keep attacking Australia’s short-pitched bowling after they ended the third day of the second Ashes Test with a 221-run deficit.

England optimism was rife on Friday morning when captain Ben Stokes and Harry Brook walked out with their side on 278 for four, hoping to establish a first-innings lead.

While Stokes was out to a beauty from Mitchell Starc’s second ball, Brook followed the downfall of Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root on day two in getting out picking out fielders on the boundary rope under a barrage of bumpers from Australia’s attack.

After collapsing from 188 for one to 325 all out in response to Australia’s 416, Usman Khawaja set about increasing the tourists’ stranglehold on the match and the series with 58 not out to help them close on 130 for two.

Former England captain Vaughan told BBC’s Test Match Special: “When you’ve got that field Australia set, if you go at two or three an over and stay in, that is better.

“I am intrigued, not just with Harry, but with all of the batters trying to constantly take it on. It’s silly, it’s stupid, it won’t have constant success.

“I actually thought they (England) bowled well. The seamers bowled nicely and the conditions were perfect.

“They could easily have got a few more wickets, a couple of reviews didn’t quite go the way they would have liked.

“I don’t think it is the bowling you can point the finger at – it is all the batting and the Bazball way isn’t it?

“The mistakes they made with their batting is the reason why they are in the position that they are.”

Australian great Glenn McGrath was under no illusions about where England had gone wrong and warned Brook, who did make 50, to expect more bouncers.

“The second ball of the day set the tone, that was a vital early wicket,” McGrath said of Stokes’ dismissal.

“Good bowling by Mitchell Starc, it just extracted a bit more out of the pitch.

“I don’t think Mitchell Starc likes bowling short, sometimes it finishes your action. Getting that wicket and then seeing how Harry Brook played, they would have seen he wouldn’t like it.

“He’s (Brook) going to cop a fair bit more, if you look unsettled and don’t like the short ball, you’ll get it more.”

Kevin Pietersen, after he described England’s day one efforts with the ball as “shambolic”, was an ally to the home batters, having taken a similar aggressive approach to short-pitched deliveries.

“I played the way they played. I saw the best form of defence being attack,” the former England batter told Sky Sports.

“There is a lot of people that have said, ‘brainless batting, this batting’, but I was pretty brainless too! People hated it, but that’s the way I played.

“Ninety miles per hour, a delivery at your head, it rocks your foundations, it’s not comfortable and sometimes instinct takes over.

“These guys had no respite at all, so you are asking the wrong bloke because I played that way.”