England spinner Jack Leach given “a hospital pass” in Ashes opener, claims Phil Tufnell


Australia’s batters looked to attack Jack Leach on day two of the first Ashes Test and the England spinner proved expensive

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England ‘s decision to pick Jack Leach over Stuart Broad for the first Ashes Test has been a source of much debate and it has not paid off so far, with Australia looking to target the left-arm spinner.

On day two, the likes of David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head all got after Leach and he ended the day with expensive figures of 1-95 from his 11 overs, going at an economy rate of 8.63.

Former England spinner Phil Tufnell has criticised the decision to pick Leach over Broad, telling BBC Test Match Special: “I wasn’t surprised they targeted him whatsoever.

“He got a little bit of the rough end of the stick – to be slung in on a green top in Brisbane.

“There were four left-handers in the top seven and they decided to just come out, play some shots and put him under pressure from the off.

“It’s one of those days as a spinner where you can think of things you may have done differently, but they went after him and got hold of him.

“It would have been tricky for any finger spinner to be bowling in those conditions.”

Tufnell added that he felt Leach had been handed a “hospital pass” by England, who should have opted for Broad instead.

“He’s England’s best available spinner, but he shouldn’t be playing,” Tufnell said. “Stuart Broad should have been playing instead of Jack Leach.

“He will be pretty deflated but he’s a phlegmatic kind of character. He’s done pretty well for England up until now and it’s just one of those days.

“But he got thrown a bit of a hospital pass in my book.”

England bowling coach Jon Lewis said: “It wasn’t one of his better days and he will want to put it to the back of his memory.

“But Jack is a pretty resilient fella and I expect him to come back strong and show the character he has.”

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