ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 09: Joe Root of England walks onto the ground at the conclusion of the tea break during day two of the Four Day Tour match between the Cricket Australia XI and England at Adelaide Oval on November 9, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

The Ashes has seen both Australia and England play some horrific days of cricket over the years.

There have been plenty of controversies as well, dating right back to the creation of the Ashes, through the bodyline series and onwards.

But England’s baffling strategy on Day 1 in Adelaide yesterday might have just about taken the cake.

It seemed to go a little bit like this: Pick four pace bowlers, add Ben Stokes, and then wait until sunset for a new ball under lights.

Of course, there was probably more to it than that, and England’s pace bowlers actually bowled quite well as illustrated by Australia’s rather low scoring rate throughout the day, but right from the moment Joe Root announced Jack Leach wouldn’t be playing, something just didn’t quite seem right.

No spinner and five pace bowlers who all bowl roughly the same style just didn’t make sense.

There was little variation without the height and bounce of Mark Wood, and while the tourists are now seemingly attempting to ensure he is fit later in the series, that will be of little use if they have already lost the Ashes.

The bottom line is that England didn’t plan for variation, and it seemed their only idea was to bowl under lights in attempting to dismiss Australia’s top order.

That negative attitude can sometimes fester into other elements of the performance, and that seemed to be the case for the tourists.

While the bowling from Joe Root’s side didn’t waver on the opening day in Adelaide online and length, the fielding certainlty did.

There were dropped catches and sloppy efforts in the field galore from England, and while the heat could also be partially to blame, it can’t take all of the criticism.

The mentality of Joe Root’s men just seemed wrong from the outset, and that didn’t change throughout the day.

Even though the bowling didn’t waver, you could argue the plan they actually bowled too wasn’t really good enough either and illustrated yet more negative tactics from England.

As revealed by ball tracking on 7 Cricket just five per cent of balls England bowled on Day 1 would have hit the stumps.

That is not a tactic which is ever going to bowl a team out or pose threatening to opposition batting, and again, plays into the idea that England simply seemed to be trying to limit the Aussie scoring, and then take wickets under lights.

But there simply isn’t enough cricket under lights, or enough cricket with a new ball under lights more specifically, to make that a plan.

Australian opener David Warner, who made another score in the 90s before playing one of the more horrendous shots you’re ever likely to say said as much after being dismissed, that England virtually worked into Australia’s plan by bowling short and not at the stumps.

“Short bowling is a tactic they have obviously tried to put through to us. I don’t know why they were doing that… It worked into our plan a bit,” Warner said.

England’s negative tactics seemed to flow from the Gabba, of that there can be no doubt. Mentally, a nine-wicket loss to open the series would have caused considerable problems for Root’s side, and that much was evident.

If England’s coaches can’t turn that mentality around today, it could be another long day in the field followed by a testing hour against the new ball under lights, and ultimately, the Ashes disappearing.

A change in tactics is urgent, and must be visible in the first hour of Day 2 if England are going to save the Ashes.