Australia vs England: Third Test day one: English batting capitulates yet again as Australia dominate
Source: Getty Images - Robert Cianflone

England's batting crumbled once again as Australia took a giant step towards retaining the Ashes with a dominate display on the opening day of the Boxing day Test in Melbourne.

Following defeats in both Brisbane and Adelaide, the Three Lions knew they required a positive result if they were to have any chance of regaining the Ashes - but were skittled for just 185 in 65 overs at the MCG. 

After a brief rain delay at the start of play, the tourists were inserted into bat by Aussie captain Pat Cummins where the frailties of their top order were once again on full display. 

With Haseeb Hameed falling for a none, England's 50th duck in Test match cricket during 2021, and fellow opener Zak Crawley departing for just 12 to leave the side 19-2. 

Captain Joe Root offered some light resistance, scoring 50 before being caught behind after playing a loose shot at a wide delivery from Mitchel Starc.

The captain's departure very much set the tone for the remainder of the tourist's innings with Ben Stokes also losing his wicket after a dismal shot, cutting to point off Cameron Green for 25, and Jos Buttler caught for three after attempting to slog Nathan Lyon just moments before the tea break.  

A useful 35 from Jonny Bairstow and a quickfire 22 from Ollie Robinson helped England avoid any further embarrassment before Robinson fell to Lyon for the final wicket of the innings. 

To add to the misery for the Three Lions they were then subjected to a demonstration from the host's openers on how to bat on the Melbourne pitch - David Warner imparticular catching the eye with a flashy 38 from 42 balls before edging one to gully off the bowling of James Anderson close to the end of the day. 

Australia ended on 61-1, trailing by 124 runs, and look comfortably set to retain the Ashes with two Tests to spare. 

New look England, same old problems 

Following a dismal display in the second Test at Adelaide Root and head coach Chris Silverwood elected to make an eye-catching four changes to the tourists lineup for the boxing day encounter. 

The changes did little to alter the fortunes of Root's side, however, with their defcinces in the batting department the key take away once again as England posted their 13th score of under 200 runs this year alone. 

Despite talk of the English batsman taking a more brutal look at themselves following the last Test the same problems of a lack of discipline and the inability to bat for any length of time remained front and centre. 

Hameed lasted just 10 balls before nicking off while facing Cummins - caught in a no mans land between forward and back while trying to play a defensive shot. 

Crawley, playing his first Test since last summer after replacing Rory Burns, fared slightly better - lasting 25 deliveries and and even playing a pair of promising drives before being squared by a straight one from the unplayable Cummins again. 

Possibly the most devastating blow for England came in the final over before lunch, though, when Dawid Malan, one of few visiting players on the tour to have done themselves any credit thus far, edged behind for a 66 ball 14 to leave his side 61-3 at the break. 

The undoubted moment of no return for the tourists came just after the interval, however, when Root departed for 50, the ninth time he has done so in Australia without scoring a century. 

The hard-to-watch wickets of Stokes and Buttler which followed only served to demonstrate the hosts utter dominace over the tourists and gives no reason for any fans back in England to feel optimistic about their chances of salvaging any pride from the series. 

Captain Cummins leads brutal Aussie display 

Australian skipper Cummins picked 3-36 from 15 overs as his side put the tourists batting to the sword - with the captain the pick standout of the bowlers, often looking virtually unplayable as he terrorized the visitors and a helpful Melbourne pitch. 

A display from Cummins which is all the more impressive given he missed the last game due a close COVID-19 contact. 

Debutant, and Victoria native, Trent Boland also picked up his first Test match wicket on day one - trapping Mark Wood lbw and finishing with figures of 1-48.