After being comfortably beaten by Australia in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, England could only manage two wickets despite the returns of veteran duo, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.
England players and staff will continue to tell themselves that they’re close to being on top, however, there’s no doubting that the cracks are beginning to open.
One of those cracks being wicket-keeper, Jos Buttler, who despite taking an impressive catch to dismiss Marcus Harris, dropped two very catch-able opportunities to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne on 21 and 95 runs.
Labuschagne finished with day unbeaten alongside stand-in captain, Steve Smith, Australia only two wickets down for a total of 221.
There will be plenty of England fans questioning Buttler’s wicket-keeping ability, and whether it is up to the standard that’s demanded at the most elite level.
The second drop, particularly with Labuschagne on 95, will sting the most, considering how regulation the chance was.
The door will be open now for Johnny Bairstow, who has kept for England in the past, to play in the third test after being named the 12th in the first test, and was considered to bat sixth in the England order before selectors settled on Ollie Pope.
England’s assistant coach, Graham Thorpe, spoke about what Buttler might be going through after the conclusion of the day’s play.
“Jos is going to hurt tonight, but he’s going to have to get out of bed and come again and enjoy his tomorrow because that’s what test cricket’s all about,” Thorpe said.
“Everyone knows, that’s played this game and drops a catch, yeah it’s disappointing, but as a human, it’s a bit like being a goalkeeper, a wicket-keeper, you know you can keep magnificently throughout the day, but if you drop a catch, it gets highlighted,
“But we’ll get around him and try to be philosophical about it as well, because I think you have to be, at the end of the day we’re playing a game of cricket.”
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Thorpe also received questions about England’s tactics and whether they were right to go into the match with four seamers and no recognised, specialist spinner.
“I don’t think our plans were too bad. If we bowled poorly we would have gone for a lot more (runs). So it’s not a case of feeling sorry for ourselves when we come in tomorrow, it’s actually trying to do very similar things.”
England will have to take their ability to maintain a low strike rate from Labuschagne, Smith, and Harris as one of the few positives from the day for them.
“Australia won the first day,” said Thorpe.
“But we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and show some fight, come back tomorrow.”
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