Ashes 2021-22: England batting coach Thorpe calls for Buttler support after missed chances

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

England batting coach Graham Thorpe implored his side to support Jos Buttler after the wicketkeeper twice dropped Marnus Labuschagne on the opening day of the second Test.

The tourists toiled for large parts of Thursday in Adelaide, having lost the first outing in Brisbane comfortably, after stand-in captain Steve Smith won the toss and elected to bat.

Smith, who captained Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, was taking the place of Pat Cummins, after the fast bowler was forced into isolation following contact with a COVID-19 case in a restaurant on Wednesday.

David Warner batted for long periods, only to fall for 95 in the final session of the first day-night Test as he was partnered by Marnus Labuschagne who ended play unbeaten on 95, with Australia 221-2.

The pair shared a second-wicket stand of 172, their sixth century partnership together – no duo can top their combined runs total since Labuschagne's Test debut in October 2018 – but England had ample chances to remove Australia's number three.

Buttler shelled a tough opportunity off the bowling of Ben Stokes with Labuschagne on 21, before dropping a regulation chance from James Anderson in the final hour with the right-hander still five away from his century.

Thorpe, who averaged over 49 for England against Australia during his playing career, insisted that the touring party need to rally around Buttler after the pair of errors.

Thorpe said to BBC's Test Match Special: "Dropped catches hurt us. Jos will have to clear his mind and go again.

"No-one means to drop catches but that's the game and sometimes it can happen to you. We need to get around him and support him.

"Australia were looking to take two set batters into the last session and they played the game very well. They defended well early on - we went past the bat a lot but they kept their wickets.

"We have to keep going at it, luck can turn. I thought we bowled well - you can look at occasionally going fuller but there wasn't much margin for error on that pitch.

"Australia are in a good position. It's up to us to take early wickets with the new ball, that'll be crucial. We have to show some fight and heart."

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