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The Ashes 2021: Paralysis by analysis hijacking England, Mark Taylor says


Extreme analysis has led to paralysis as England limp toward the final day of the second Ashes Test, according to former Australia captain Mark Taylor.

The tourists are in need of conjuring a sporting miracle if they are to chase the remaining 386 runs to win the Adelaide Test, while even salvaging a draw is highly unlikely.

Australia dealt England a monumental task when fill-in captain Steve Smith declared his side’s second innings closed at 9-230 just before tea on day four, setting the visitors a record fourth-innings chase of 468 to win.

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England’s chase then began in disastrous fashion as Australia’s bowlers thrived with the pink ball under lights, leaving the visitors reeling at 4-82 at stumps and staring down a two-nil series deficit.

Taylor was scathing in his assessment of England’s mindset.

“The problem that England have got is their thinking is way too conservative and too analytical. They’ve almost suffered paralysis from too much analysis,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.

“They’ve obviously looked at their bowlers, looked at who’s going to play when and then got it all wrong. I don’t know exactly how fit all their bowlers were before the first Test, but to pick the side they did, without (pacemen) Stuart Broad and James Anderson

“And now that they’ve got to (Adelaide) they’ve bowled conservatively … They bowled so much better on day four in that first session, where they picked up 3-14 in the first hour of play. They bowled a good metre, almost a metre-and-a-half fuller than they’ve bowled all series – and all of a sudden Australia looked in a little bit of trouble. And when you’re doing this much analysing before a Test … why does it take them that long to work out where to bowl?”

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Neither Broad nor Anderson played the first Test and, although they have tremendous Test records, they failed to do serious damage in both innings with the ball in Adelaide.

Broad took 1-73 and 1-27, while Anderson finished with figures of 2-58 and 1-8.

“(England have) spent so much time on bowling rotations and asking, ‘Who’s going to play?’, ‘What sort of pitches are we going to play on?’, ‘Are we going to play the day-night Test?’,” Taylor said.

“I think they’ve spent way too much time analysing all of the things they can’t control.

“Just pick your best team and play good cricket and play with energy – that’s what they need to do and they haven’t done that.”

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