The Cricketer
Huw Turbervill Huw Turbervill


HUW TURBERVILL: Denis Compton and Mike Atherton also found Australia the toughest tour

Moeen Ali is not the first England batsman to be broken by Australia, and he will not be the last.

With its rock-hard surfaces, intense heat and raucous, partisan crowds, Australia represents a fearsome challenge for batsmen brought up on green, seaming surfaces in Blighty.

Australia also have one of their finest attacks. An excellent left-arm quick in Mitchell Starc, an aggressive and skilled speedster in Pat Cummins, a fast and accurate seamer in Josh Hazlewood and a super spinner in Nathan Lyon.

So no disgrace to struggle...

If only Moeen had converted one of the two starts he made in Brisbane (38 and 40) then things may have been different; but since then he has managed 25, 2, 0, 11 and 20.

That latter innings at the MCG suggested a scrambled brain. He tried to attack his way back into form and fell to a poor shot.

The campaign overall amounts to 136 runs at an average of 19.43 (not to mention his struggles with the ball).

Moeen Ali has had a difficult tour of Australia

To rub salt into the wound, he has lost his personal duel with fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon. He has dismissed Moeen six times, including three lbws.

Denis Compton suffered the mother of all struggles in Australia in 1950/51. One of England’s all-time greats could muster only 53 runs at 7.53 in four Tests.

England's vice-captain struggled with an old knee injury sustained playing football. Blame Arsenal! Bizarrely, though, he averaged 92 in the tour matches.

Other greats have found Australia the toughest tour.

Geoff Boycott averaged only 21 against a second-string host side in 1978/79 – with Mike Brearley (16) and Graham Gooch (22) also struggling.

And Mike Atherton managed only 110 runs at 13.75 on the 1998/99 trip – held in a vice by his persecutor-in-chief Glenn McGrath.

Moeen is in good company. 

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