The Ashes: Jonny Bairstow looks for England to toughen up quickly in Melbourne in order to save series

YORKSHIRE’S Jonny Bairstow knows England need to be “stronger and tougher” but only a remarkable shift in fortunes at the MCG will salvage their Ashes campaign after another costly batting collapse.

England's  Jonathan Bairstow reacts after being caught by Cameron Green off the bowling of Mitchell Starc. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA
England's Jonathan Bairstow reacts after being caught by Cameron Green off the bowling of Mitchell Starc. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA

Australia enjoyed the festivities of Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test, rolling out their opponents for an underpowered score of 185 to complete another sorry day at the office for the tourists.

While England failed to piece together a single half-century stand, their opponents managed it at the first time of asking as David Warner (38) and Marcus Harris (20no) put on 57 in a stumps score of 61-1.

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The three biggest errors came from England’s core leadership group – captain Joe Root giving a soft edge away from his body, Ben Stokes with an ugly slash and Jos Buttler guilty of a rush of blood against Nathan Lyon.

Australia's Pat Cummins celebrates the wicket of England's Zak Crawley at Melbourne Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA

Bairstow was not involved in the previous disappointments in Brisbane and Adelaide but witnessed some sloppy dismissals first hand and accepts things must change. “We’ve got to get a bit stronger and tougher with our dismissals,” he said.

“We know that and we’ve spoken about that, that is just being honest with ourselves. I can tell you now everyone is trying. It’s one of those days that we will look back on, probably reassess next time and potentially take different options. We’re still searching for that big score.”

Root, dismissed for an even 50 as he took his tally of unconverted half-centuries in Australia to nine, started the day by losing the toss.

Play had been delayed by half-an-hour due to rain, leaving a sluggish outfield that kept the boundary count down and giving the seamers plenty of encouragement during the opening exchanges.

“When you look at the toss it didn’t go our way. We’d have looked to bowl as well,” said Bairstow.

“Both teams were looking to bowl, with the helpful conditions and a tinge of green. It was no surprise to be put in. With the weather around – rain and cloud cover – it was always going to be the plan to put us into bat.”