Sport The Ashes: Conspiracy theories ignore the root of England's woes against Australia

04:35  11 december  2017
04:35  11 december  2017 Source:   MSN

Moeen a doubt for second Ashes test, says Root

  Moeen a doubt for second Ashes test, says Root England all-rounder Moeen Ali is a doubt for the second Ashes test against Australia as he struggles to recover from a cut on his index finger, captain Joe Root said on Friday. Moeen, whose bowling was affected by the cut during England's 10-wicket defeat at the Gabba, would probably be retained as a batsman at Adelaide Oval in the match starting Saturday even if were unable to bowl, said Root.The skipper, however, would not rule out a potential test debut for legspinner Mason Crane, depending on the conditions and if Moeen was deemed unfit to play.

Moreover, the pronunciation of “R” in Arabic is rolled with the tongue against the roof of the mouth, while in Hebrew it is rolled back in the throat. The past eight months have taught me that Jews are at the root of every conspiracy theory .

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Joe Root of England leaves the field after being dismissed.© Philip Brown/Getty Images Joe Root of England leaves the field after being dismissed. The England tourists in the Bodyline series of 1932/33 were the victorious masters of the dark art of leg theory. This season's visitors are proving to be the delusional exponents of the self-defeating art of conspiracy theory.

Ben Stokes' absence? The compelling video evidence of the all-rounder fracturing the eye socket of a man outside a Bristol nightclub has been the source of more alternative versions than the Zupreder film of John F Kennedy's assassination.

If Stokes' plight wasn't the fault of bottle-throwing homophobes who allegedly incited the burly all-rounders' violent response, it was the consequence of smug self-interested Australians insisting he be banned.

Knives quickly out for English captain

  Knives quickly out for English captain England captain Joe Root's decision to bowl first in the second Ashes Test is rapidly attracting criticism from past players. The knives have quickly come out for England captain Joe Root after he snubbed history and chose to bowl first in an Adelaide Oval Test.Only one team has won after doing so.That triumph belongs to the then-mighty West Indies whose fearsome fast bowlers delivered victory in February 1982.On Saturday, in overcast conditions and forecast rain, Root won the toss and sent Australia in to bat in the second Ashes Test.

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Jonny Bairstow's nightclub headbutt of Cameron Bancroft? A traditional Yorkshire greeting disingenuously misconstrued, mischievously withheld then scandalously exploited by the Australians, evil proponents of stump microphone propaganda.

And so it has gone, reason lost in the search for excuses by a team and its management so misguided you wonder if they will go on to tour New Zealand, or instead head to Kenya to search for Barack Obama's birth certificate.

The conspiracy theories have been swallowed whole by sections of the English media who have found it easier to relay — or, in some cases, even to create — the muttered "cheating Aussie" alibis than examine the poor performance of the visiting team or the weaknesses in its make-up.

Comment: Ashes 2017: Captain Joe Root feeling the heat as England unravel in second Test

  Comment: Ashes 2017: Captain Joe Root feeling the heat as England unravel in second Test The biggest challenge in Joe Root's career has become even more difficult after Australia inflicted another damaging blow on England's embattled skipper.Staring down the barrel of another heavy loss, the visitors needed something special from their leader but Root's dismissal highlighted the psychological hold Australia have over the Old Enemy.

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Even when England sledged Australian captain Steve Smith in Adelaide with the kind of ferocity the tourists claimed they abhorred in Brisbane, it was justified as the tit-for-tat reprisal of the bullied lillywhites.

England finally fire but Australia in charge in Adelaide

  England finally fire but Australia in charge in Adelaide England's struggles continued early on day three of the second Ashes test on Monday when Joe Root and Alastair Cook were among four wickets to fall to leave the tourists on 128 for five at tea, still 314 behind Australia.Australia skipper Steve Smith elected not to enforce the follow-on after the tourists had been dismissed for 227, a first-innings deficit of 215, and probably rued his decision as England attacked under the Adelaide Oval lights.

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Not merely the visitors proving they were as potty-mouthed as their Australian tormentors, as Jimmy Anderson and co had often demonstrated.

Then, before England could claim Nathan Lyon was bowling from a grassy knoll or a short leg fielder replaced his helmet with a tin foil hat, a fringe player called Ben Duckett splashed a drink across Anderson in a Perth bar and the real reason for their travails was exposed.

Like the stars of an episode of X-Files, this England team had convinced itself the truth about their rapidly deteriorating tour of Australia was out there. In fact it was right in front of Jimmy Anderson's beer-soaked nose.

It turns out the so-called "cultural problems" in the England team raised after Stokes's early morning mayhem, in the company of teammate Alex Hales, were real. Either that or a team that knows nothing good will happen after midnight until they extend the final session of a day-night Test has a ravenous appetite for self-destruction.

The real shame for England? Not Bairstow's unexpectedly robust greeting or Duckett's apparent spat with his vice-captain.

Root out to conquer unhappy hunting ground

  Root out to conquer unhappy hunting ground Desperate to retain the Ashes, England captain Joe Root must reverse a two-Test losing streak but also personally find form in a country where he averages 30.Root, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson have been widely viewed as a class above their peers in recent years.

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Unlike Stokes' violent outburst, these were merely symptoms of the greater problem — some England players cannot wander outside their hotel lobby after dark without finding a lot of alcohol and a least a little bit of trouble.

The real shame for England is that its deflection and self-denial has meant the problem has not been addressed beyond exasperated coach Trevor Bayliss's schoolmasterly curfew.

Instead, the incidents — and, more so, the publicity they have created — have become a vast distraction during a series when the gap between the teams is not as great as the eventual outcome seems likely to be.

Rewind to the final session of the fourth day in Adelaide with England 3-169 chasing 354 and giving just a hint that it could mount one of the most unlikely comebacks in any Ashes Test, despite Joe Root's disastrous decision to send Australia in.

Adelaide, with a pink ball that under lights turns South Australia into South Anglia, was the one Test many had thought England could win. But to do so after Australia had dominated for three days and Steve Smith had failed to enforce the follow-on would have completely tilted the psychology of the series in the tourists' favour.

The late ratting of Dawid Malan's stumps by Patrick Cummins and a rather limp England batting performance on the final day extinguished the prospect of a famous, potentially series-defining victory.

Bairstow up to six in unchanged England team

  Bairstow up to six in unchanged England team Joe Root has opted to promote Jonny Bairstow one place in the batting order, so Moeen Ali drops to number seven in Perth.Jonny Bairstow will move up to number six in an unchanged England side for the third Ashes Test against Australia at the WACA.

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Yet, as with Australia's deceptively comfortable victory in Brisbane, you could not help feeling the gap between the teams was as much a result of their greater mental application as their ability.

In Brisbane, the English convinced themselves they were the victim of those dastardly Australian tricks. In Adelaide they fought fire with fire and were still looking for excuses when they got burnt.

It is the mentality of a team that does not go back to its hotel and work hard on its deficiencies. Rather, one that heads straight to a bar to drown its sorrows and convince itself it copped the wrong end of the stick.

As innocuous as it may have been, Duckett's drink splash might well prove the moment when the wheels on this England tour fell off. Much like Graeme Swann's mid-series retirement, amid squabbling with teammate Kevin Pietersen, signalled the symbolic end of the disastrous 2013/14 tour.

If so, this will have been an even more spectacular disintegration. Australia's bowling is superior and the home conditions advantageous but this Australian team is far from a superpower.

Lose in Perth, as most expect, and the ECB's post-mortems will begin. Scapegoats will be slaughtered and more conspiracy theories concocted. But to explain their current plight this England team needs only to gaze into the mirror.

Australia aim for 5-0 Ashes sweep .
England are facing a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, and the dire tour could end the careers of some of their most experienced players.Australian batsman Usman Khawaja says he and his teammates would love to win the Ashes 5-0, but their intent isn't to end any England careers.

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