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Honesty sessions not enough for England

What good are honesty sessions if the players leading them aren’t being honest with themselves?

That’s the question the England team must ask itself after a horror Boxing Day with the bat left them all out for 185 and struggling to stay in the Ashes.

In the aftermath of England’s 275-run loss in Adelaide last week, batsmen were subjected to a long video session of their own outs.

They were reminded how too often they were dismissed to balls outside off stump, edging off balls they didn’t need to play to.

“It’s asking all of our batters whoever does play to do basic things very well,” captain Joe Root said earlier this week.

“Get yourself in, give yourself the opportunity to go and make big runs. And build those big partnerships.”

High on Root’s list of concerns leading into the Test was leaving the ball, admitting it was something England’s batsmen had struggled to adjust.

But both he and vice-captain Ben Stokes committed the cardinal sins on Boxing Day, flaying away at balls outside off stump and being caught.

Root’s dismissal came off Mitchell Starc, opening the face on a ball that was almost a full width of the stumps outside off and sending it through to Alex Carey.

Root knew his error immediately, hitting his bat in frustration as England’s fightback fell flat after tea.

On 50, it marked the ninth time Root has reached a half-century in Australia without posting three figures.

No other touring batsman has ever held such a record without at least once reaching 100.

Stokes was the next to go at point, trying to uppercut Cameron Green over the slips for the second time in six balls but being cramped for room.

Then in the last over before tea, Jos Buttler inexplicably jumped down the deck to Nathan Lyon and holed out to the one man on the legside boundary.

“We’ve got to get a bit stronger and tougher with our dismissals,” Jonny Bairstow said, while still defending the right to attack the game.

“We know that, we’ve spoken about that. And that’s just being honest with ourselves. We need to keep keep doing that.

“We saw in that session in Adelaide that we batted for a period of time and put a lot on each of our wickets.

“When it comes down to seconds again here that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do.”

It’s not the only issue for England as they fight to stay in the series.

Their average opening stand is now 7.6 for the summer, with Hasseb Hameed and Zak Crawley also both caught behind the wicket.

Chris Silverwood’s men don’t have another opener in the squad, other than Rory Burns who was axed after the second Test.

The poor showing comes after Jimmy Anderson used a newspaper column to counter Root’s claims bowlers had been too short in Adelaide by pointing out Australia’s bats had thrived against similar length balls.

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