The Ashes: Englands Jack Leach given a hospital pass, says Phil Tufnell

Author : rian26
Publish Date : 2021-12-09


The Ashes: Englands Jack Leach given a hospital pass, says Phil Tufnell

The Ashes: England v Australia, first Test day three
Venue: The Gabba, Brisbane Date: 10 December Time: 23:30 GMT (9 Dec)
Coverage: Daily highlights show on BBC iPlayer from 17:00 GMT, ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special, plus live text commentary, UK-only clips, features and analysis on the BBC Sport website and app

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England spinner Jack Leach should not have been selected for the first Ashes Test and has been given "a hospital pass", says Phil Tufnell.

The 30-year-old took the wicket of Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne but conceded 95 runs in only 11 overs on day two at The Gabba in Brisbane.

England opted for the spinner over Stuart Broad as a fifth pace option.

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"I wasn't surprised they targeted him whatsoever," said spinner Tufnell, who took 121 wickets in 42 Tests.

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Going into the game, Somerset's Leach had played 16 Tests for England, taking 62 wickets at an average of 29.98.

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But he had not played any Test cricket since England toured India in March, with his last game being for his county back in September.

"He got a little bit of the rough end of the stick - to be slung in on a green top in Brisbane," added Tufnell.

"There were four left-handers in the top seven and they decided to just come out, play some shots and put him under pressure from the off.

"It's one of those days as a spinner where you can think of things you may have done differently, but they went after him and got hold of him.

"It would have been tricky for any finger spinner to be bowling in those conditions."

Leach only conceded one run from his first over before opener David Warner hit his seventh ball for six - one of five that he conceded.

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He finished the day with an unenviable economy rate of 8.64 runs an over. Only once has a bowler bowling more than 10 overs in a Test innings conceded more runs per over: Pakistan's Yasir Shah against Australia in Sydney in January 2017.

"He's England's best available spinner, but he shouldn't be playing," stressed Tufnell. "Stuart Broad should have been playing instead of Jack Leach.

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"He will be pretty deflated but he's a phlegmatic kind of character.

"He's done pretty well for England up until now and it's just one of those days.

"But he got thrown a bit of a hospital pass in my book."

Speaking on Test Match Special, the BBC's cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said it was "utterly predictable" that Australia would attack Leach, but that he "feels sorry" for him due to the lack of cricket he has played.

TMS podcast: Australia Head and shoulders in front
Stumped podcast: England's Ashes misery and the rise of captain Cummins
Jack Leach's wagon wheel against Australia in the first Ashes Test at The Gabba in Brisbane. Also shows he conceded 16 singles, two twos, four threes, seven fours, one five and five sixes
Australia looked to attack Jack Leach by hitting him back down the ground
Australia ended the day on 343-7 - a lead of 196 - with Travis Head unbeaten on 112 off 95 balls.

Head also hit Leach for six, after Warner and Labuschagne hit two each. The left-hander revealed Australia had spoke about being "positive" against Leach.

"We want the pace bowlers to come back," explained Head.

"We were brave and had earned the right to take him [Leach] on.

"It sets the tone for the series - we know it isn't always going to be like that and there will be moments where he bowls extremely well."

England bowling coach Jon Lewis reflected: "It wasn't one of his better days and he will want to put it to the back of his memory.

"But Jack is a pretty resilient fella and I expect him to come back strong and show the character he has."

What they said on #bbccricket
Andy H: Hopefully Leach doesn't get criticised heavily, it is Root and management to blame for how they have managed Leach - barely played a test. Our spinner strategy is non-existent.

Sherwin Le Monde: Surely the only game Leach plays this series?

Tom Sweeney: There's a reason Jack Leach hasn't been playing any test cricket for England… he's awful. Declaration bowling. Wouldn't bother picking a spinner if I was Root and Silverwood, unless it's a genuinely attacking option like Parkinson.

Darryl Smith: England would be better off asking Broad to bowl spin.

Dan: Liam Livingstone needs to get a call up. His bowling must be as good as Leach and can bat. Get one hour of him and he can change a game.



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