England international cricketer Moeen Ali was at the receiving end as English legend and commentator Geoffrey Boycott criticised the all-rounder for an underwhelming display during the ongoing first Test against Australia.
Ali, who spearheads England’s spin department, has garnered plaudits over the years for his performances for the national team, but endured a difficult day at the Gabba as the hosts fought back after lunch on Day 3, courtesy of Steve Smith’s brilliant century.
England held the edge going into the break having dominated proceedings at the start of the third day, securing three wickets before lunch.
However, the Aussie skipper played a splendid innings to register his 21st Test hundred, occupying the crease for over seven hours as Australia ended their first innings at 328 with Smith 141 not out.
Apart from speedsters James Anderson and Stuart Broad, England failed to capitalise on their advantage, as Smith partnered by Pat Cummins sustained the initial onslaught and provided England a taxing afternoon session, with Joe Root as well as Ali looking short of ideas to penetrate the Aussie defence.
The 30-year-old off-spinner finished with two wickets for 74 runs from his 30 overs and was a stark contrast to Nathan Lyon, who was able to generate both spin and bounce right from the opening day.
Boycott termed the visitors’ tactics after lunch as ‘inexplicable’ then launched an attack on the England bowler and his captain for the abysmal showing.
The 77-year-old told BT Sport: “Our cricket on the field is good but sometimes inexplicable.
“Anderson and Broad were superb in the morning, some of the inventive field placings were excellent.
“But after lunch it was inexcusable. When the game was in the balance, the best two bowlers don’t bowl. Where’s Broad and Anderson? They’re on the park but not bowling.
“It was much easier against the other bowlers, as you see in the figures. ‘Moeen’s been totally useless, really, he gave no problems to any batsmen, he’s not getting any revs on the ball or bounce, nothing.”
England hold a seven-run lead over their rivals at stumps on Day 3, but have already lost two wickets in Alastair Cook and James Vince within six overs of the second innings.
Captain Joe Root and opener Mark Stoneman currently are at the crease with England 33 for two after 16 overs in Brisbane.
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