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Australia could win 4-0 & Root’s catch a “dubious decision” – the un-English thoughts of an England spinner

The Ashes is nothing if not parochial. Just take a look at the English fans who booed Steve Smith as he was coming back out to bat after a sickening blow to the head.

However one former England Test player isn’t letting loyalties colour his view of the Ashes.

64 Test off-spinner John Emburey told David Morrow and Mat Thompson that despite England’s improved display at Lord’s, he still think it’s likely Australia will take out the series handsomely.

“I’m not convinced about our batting at the top of the order”, he said.

“You lose two or three quick wickets and you’re into Joe Root. You lose Joe Root very quickly as well and all of a sudden you could breeze through our innings.

“I could see Australia winning this series 4-0.”

The one caveat he put to that prediction was the arrival of express paceman Jofra Archer who unsettled plenty of Australian batsmen – not least of all Smith.

Speaking about the Test debutant, Emburey said, “the impression that he’s made to the Australians is going to certainly make it a little bit more difficult. And the thought process going through the minds of the Australians and how they’re going to cope with him is going to be something else.”

However he wasn’t so generous with his analysis of Joe Root’s controversial claimed catch that saw Smith’s substitute Marnus Labuschagne given out despite replays seeming to show the ball touching the ground before going into the England captain’s hands.

Emburey was far more impressed by Labuschagne’s batting than the umpire’s decision:

“He batted very very well and was out to in my opinion a very dubious decision which was unconvincing even on the replay screen. I’m very surprised that the (video) umpire actually gave him out.”

He he also revealed that he had been surprised by the pitches prepared for the first two Tests and the weather could change that for the third Test in Headingley (Leeds) starting on Thursday.

“The pitches have been totally different from what a majority of people were expecting over here,” he said.

“They’ve taken the grass off. The pitches have been very dry. Spin has come into the game very quickly.

“Which has surprised a lot of people especially seeing as Nathan Lyon is such a special bowler – a match winning bowler.

“We’ve had a lot of rain this evening. If they have a lot of rain in the north again, the pitches could have a little bit of moisture in them.

“They might have a little bit more grass on them. It might be that they don’t go in with (spinner Jack) Leach and they play four seamers and go in with an extra batsman.”

Click PLAY below to listen to Emburey’s comments.