A TERRIBLE year for England's red-ball batting was accentuated by another collapse, as they lost the Ashes to Australia in Melbourne.

And stats show just how bad it has been for England this calendar year, with only captain Joe Root and Rory Burns scoring more than the EXTRAS column.

It was a miserable second innings for England, all out for just 68 runs, their lowest total in Australia since 1904.

Embarrassingly for England, the Ashes was decided before the halfway mark of the scheduled series.

Aside from Root, Rory Burns is the only other player to score more runs than extras this year.

But Burns himself has SIX ducks, guilty of losing his wicket cheaply at key times.

Opening batting combinations of Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed have all faltered throughout the year.

Hameed also has four ducks, including two in the Ashes so far.

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Moeen Ali has suggested structural changes by the ECB – England and Wales Cricket Board – as England have now been beaten in test series by India and Australia in 2021.

The England spinner retired from Test cricket in September but says that England's decline 'has been coming' for a while.

He said: "I don't think we've been good enough.

"Australia are just way ahead of England and have outplayed us in all three games.

"You just felt that sometimes we were papering over the cracks at home.

"When we go away, it's always difficult and if Joe Root doesn't score, we actually really struggle to even score 200 or anything competitive.

"I would actually reduce the games in Championship cricket, but I'd play them at the right time when the wickets are good, the sun is out. I think it will make a big difference.

"We go back to when we play first-class cricket, the wickets are very difficult for batters.

"We've got some soul searching to do."

Australia are just way ahead of England and have outplayed us in all three games.

Jonathan Trott agreed with Ali and stated that red-ball cricket is not prioritised in England.

The format England opener – who scored 3,835 runs in 52 Tests for England – said it has been 'pushed to the side'.

No one can question Joe Root's batting. He was ranked the best Test batsman in the world by the ICC before Marnus Labuschagne overtook him during this series.

But as a captain, the Yorkshireman is now under high-pressure and some expect him to lose his job as captain once the team returns to England.

His decisions have been questioned throughout the tour of Australia.

Not least, the dropping of England's greatest-ever bowling combination of Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson.

Ex-Australia captain, Ricky Ponting, told BT Sports: "Pick your best team from the start and then see how far that group can take you.

"The fact that Anderson and Broad didn't play in Brisbane is staggering.

"The fact that Joe Root didn't bowl first in Brisbane was staggering,

"All their planning, and thought, and structures have just been completely wrong and it's come back to bite them."

Ex-cricketer and BBC analyst Jonathan Agnew said: "I would be surprised if Joe Root continues as captain."

I would be surprised if Joe Root continues as captain.

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