Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann raised concerns over England’s bowling with the tourists heading for a resounding defeat in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
Australia ended day four on 114 without losing a wicket in the second innings, needing just 56 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Moeen Ali was hampered by a cut to his index finger, while James Anderson was far from his usual fearsome self with some suggestions he too was short of fitness.
James Anderson and England’s bowlers have come under fire after disappointing at the Gabba
‘If you cut the inside of your finger, it’s very difficult to bowl,’ Pietersen said on BT Sport. ‘There’s also a lot of things being said about Anderson. We don’t know about that, but when you’ve got Ali, your number one spinner and Anderson, the great Jimmy Anderson, issues there, that causes major, major headaches for Joe Root.
‘You have to hope they’re both fit for Adelaide on Saturday, because if not…oops.’
Swann felt there was a lack of belief in the England attack, while Ali’s ineffectiveness stood in stark contrast to Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, who took three for 67 in England’s second innings.
Australia’s batsman made light work of England’s bowlers on day four of the first Ashes Test
Cameron Bancroft (left) and David Warner helped the Aussies to 114-0 at the end of day four
‘More than anything you’ve got to look at how ineffective the bowling has been,’ Swann said. ‘Moeen Ali has been half the bowler Nathan Lyon has been in this game.
‘That wicket is really turning and bouncing, and Brisbane doesn’t turn and bounce, but Lyon is looking really dangerous.
‘Moeen, I don’t think he’s fit. There’s no action, no verve through the crease. Jake Ball, I don’t think he’s fit either and Chris Woakes has not bowled well. It’s a real, real problem for the England attack at the moment.
‘I don’t think all five of those bowlers walked onto the pitch tonight thinking we can win, and you needed all five to believe that to even have a sniff.’
Kevin Pietersen questioned the England bowlers’ belief as they failed to take a wicket
It was not all doom and gloom for Root’s England though, with Pietersen pointing to some positive signs amid their worries, but he warned they must get in a few blows of their own on Monday morning before a seemingly inevitable defeat is completed.
‘There have been some positives for sure out of the England camp,’ he added. ‘The control of (Stuart) Broad and Anderson has been fantastic, Moeen Ali has been quite good in this Test match and the inexperienced batsmen in the first innings were really good.
‘Ball I’m not so sure about, he’s been rushed through injury into this Test match, (Alastair) Cook is a worry, and Joe Root falling over is a worry. There are a few causes for concern, but it is still early in this series, they’re only 1-0 down – probably two because England never win in Perth – but there is still a long way to go.
‘They need to do something tomorrow so they don’t take a lot of baggage away, because if it is a 10-wicket defeat tomorrow there will be real problems for the next few Tests.’
Australia’s impressive display leaves them just 56 runs short of winning the opening Ashes Test