Boycott swings at batsmen

Geoffrey Boycott (Gallo)
Geoffrey Boycott (Gallo)

Nottingham - England great Geoffrey Boycott was left lamenting the inability of batsmen on both sides to play the swinging ball after a remarkable start to the 2013 Ashes series saw 14 wickets fall on the first day at Trent Bridge.

After Ashes-holders England won the toss and batted in overcast conditions in Nottingham on Wednesday they were bowled out for 215, with Australia fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle taking five for 50.

But by stumps, Australia had slumped to 75 for four in reply, a deficit of 140 runs, with captain Michael Clarke - the tourists best batsman - clean bowled for a duck by a superb James Anderson delivery that angled in before moving late off the pitch.

"It's just swung in the air and there have been some awful shots," former opener Boycott, now a BBC Radio Test Match Special commentator, said.

"Playing swing is a skill - you have to see the line and play it as late as possible," explained the 72-year-old Yorkshireman, scorer of 22 Test hundreds and renowned as an outstanding defensive batsman.

"Michael Clarke was dismissed by an absolute corker but a lot of batsmen on both sides gave their wickets away."

No England batsman made more than Jonathan Trott's 48. The South Africa-born No 3 looked in good touch until, to his visible disgust, he played on to a wide delivery from Siddle.

"Jonathan Trott's dismissal was one of the most disappointing because he had played so well to get to 48," said Boycott.

"He was so confident in his footwork he was moving about in his crease as Peter Siddle bowled. He looked like he was on for a big one until he tried to chase a ball that was very wide. He would have struggled to get to that with a stump, never mind a bat."

Yet again, England made a poor start with the bat to a Test series and a frustrated Boycott said: "It's been happening too often, where England collapse in the first innings of the first Test match of a series.

"It has happened against New Zealand, India, Pakistan and even Sri Lanka. It's got to be a mental thing."

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