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Nasser Hussain
Cricket Expert & Columnist

Ashes 2013/14: England's fragile batting display simply unacceptable

Johnson is on fire but pitch is not a minefield, says Nasser

Aus v Eng - Second Test, Day 3 Highlights

England's batsmen lacked courage on a day of 'total disaster' for the tourists in Adelaide, says Nasser Hussain.

Johnson too good for England

Alastair Cook's side was shot out for just 172 on day three of the second Test as the pace of Mitchell Johnson (7-40) proved too hot to handle.

By stumps England - already 1-0 down in the series after defeat in Brisbane - trailed by a mammoth 530 runs after Australia reached 132-3 in their second innings, having decided not to enforce the follow-on.

Former captain Hussain told Sky Sports that England's batting line-up simply didn't show enough fight as they slumped from 111-3 to 135-9.

"Total disaster sums it up pretty well as far as England are concerned," he said. "Mitchell Johnson has been the difference in the bowling attacks.

"Out of every seamer that has bowled, the one stand-out bowler who has got more out of the pitch than anyone else is Johnson because of his extra pace.

"If you bowl at 80mph in Adelaide, a batsman has plenty of time. But if you bowl full at 90-95mph a batsman doesn't have time and a little bit of movement, in to the left-handers and out to the right-handers, is tough to play.

"Johnson is on fire. Every time a new batsman came in, he was absolutely at them and England were blown away. There wasn't enough courage; there wasn't enough fight against what was high-quality bowling."

Not acceptable

Bell to number three?

England lost four wickets for just six runs in a dramatic middle-order slump that mirrored their twin capitulation in Brisbane, where they suffered collapses of 6-9 in the first innings and 4-9 in the second, respectively.

Hussain - who agrees with Shane Warne that Ian Bell (72no) should be promoted to the number three position in place of Joe Root following Jonathan Trott's departure from the tour with a stress-related illness - said the top-order batsmen were guilty of committing familiar failings.

"England have got a top-order who keep getting out the same way - for example Pietersen clipping it to midwicket, Australia bowling full to Cook, Root not scoring and hence having to play a big shot against the spinner," he reflected.

"Historically England's middle and lower order have always got more runs than the opposition but with Stokes on debut at six and Prior completely, hopelessly out of nick at seven and Broad and Swann a bit gun-shy of the quick bowling, it's a fragile combination.

"Australia is a fabulous place to bat against the Kookaburra ball and these have been two good pitches. The ball hasn't done that much. It's not as though they've batted on two minefields.

"When you are out of nick it is very difficult to change things but what you can't have is the repetitive nature of dismissals. If you get a great delivery, fine. If you are a bit out of nick and somebody gets you out, that's fine.

"But it's not acceptable to give your wicket away. Each individual batsman has to look at themselves and their three dismissals so far and say 'am I doing enough to be successful on the field?' If you are, carry on, if you are not, do something different."

Watch highlights of day three from 10am on Sky Sports 2 and On Demand from 6.30pm, then don't miss The Ashes Verdict from 9pm and The Ashes Extra at 11pm before live coverage of day four gets underway at 11.30pm - also on Sky Sports 2.