Five Ashes talking points as England suffer humiliating series loss on day three

England began day three of the third Ashes Test staring down the barrel of yet another heavy defeat that would have seen Australia comfortably retain the urn.

A brutal final hour of bowling on day two from Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland left England four wickets down and still 51 runs behind Australia.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes were tasked with digging their side out of a very deep hole, but things could not have gone much worse for England, who capitulated to 68 all out and an innings defeat.

Just five overs into the day, Starc picked up his third and final wicket of the match, bowling Stokes through the gate for 11 and triggering the collapse.

Boland then picked up where he left off on day three, having taken two wickets in his sole over, by ripping through England's lower-order.

The debutant got Jonny Bairstow LBW for 11 and had Root caught at slip for 28, before getting Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson both out for ducks.

He ended the day with remarkable figures of 6-7 from just four overs and was awarded player of the match for his efforts.

All-rounder Cameron Green put England out of their misery when he bowled James Anderson for two, with the wicket sealing another Ashes win for Australia.

Here are five talking points from the day's play.

Boland's hometown heroics

Having spent his entire career playing for Victoria, Boland has developed into an outstanding operator at the MCG.

Making his debut at the age of 32, Boland's every action was roundly cheered by the Melbourne faithful and, after an unremarkable 1-48 in the first innings, he took 6-7 in the second innings.

After dismissing Haseeb Hameed and Jack Leach in his only over on day two, Boland added the scalps of Bairstow, Root, Wood and Robinson on day three to wrap up a remarkable debut.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Boland said: "I thought we had a good chance of winning coming here today, but I didn't think it would happen that quickly."

Root falls short of Yousuf's record

Root has enjoyed an excellent year with the bat in Test cricket, it is just a shame that he has been offered such little support by his fellow batter.

Root has ended 2021 with a total of 1,708 Test runs, falling a mere 80 runs short of breaking Mohammad Yousuf's record for the most runs in a calendar year.

England's second-highest run scorer Rory Burns finishes the year a whopping 1,178 runs behind Root, while extras are in third place.

In fact, England have been so reliant on Root's runs this year that they have only managed to avoid defeat in one Test where he has not made a century – a rain-affected draw against New Zealand.

Most ducks in a year

As if to underline England's batting struggles even more, they managed to equal their own record for the most ducks in a calendar year during this Test.

As they collapsed to 68 all out, Dawid Malan, Jack Leach, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson were all dismissed without scoring.

England have now made 54 ducks in Test cricket this year, equalling the record they set back in 1998.

Anderson's heroics in vain

Maligned by some as a bowler who only performs in English conditions, Anderson has picked up seven wickets at an average of just 14.14 in the series so far.

His 4-33 on day two was an absolute masterclass and it is such a shame that his heroic efforts to drag England back into the match were immediately undone by another batting collapse.

In 2021, Anderson has taken a remarkable 39 wickets at an average of 21.74 and, at the age of 39, bowled more overs than any other bowler in Test cricket.

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In fact, since turning 35 Anderson has taken 24 wickets at an average of 23.83 in Australia.

England's planning "completely wrong"

Head coach Chris Silverwood has repeatedly spoken about the amount of planning England have done to ensure they had success in this series.

In his first press conference after taking the role, he vowed to "help Joe to keep moving forward so that in two years’ time we can go to Australia and make a real impact".

Then in March, Silverwood defended England's rotation policy by insisting it would help them perform in the Ashes.

"We talk about working our way towards the Ashes and I want the squad to arrive there fit and in form," he said. "We want to make sure everyone arrives at that point in as good a place as possible."

However, those plans have clearly gone up in flames and, with Australia winning the series with two games to spare, Ricky Ponting has lambasted England planning as "completely wrong".

"All their planning, their thoughts and their structures have just been completely wrong, and it's come back to bite them," he said on Channel 7.

"There's no good looking forward from Brisbane if you're going to be one or two nil down. And that's what it was: they planned for Melbourne – already being two-nil down, they've come here and been pantsed again. So, they've got some really, really deep thinking to do."

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