BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 08: Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates dismissing Rory Burns of England during day one of the First Test Match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at The Gabba on December 08, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Former Australian captain Allan Border has speculated that even Donald Bradman would have struggled to play Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins at the end of Day 2.

Australia, who built their lead up to 82 before being bowled out by the tourists, then had a punishing 12 over stint in the field before the close of play.

It left England's hopes of getting back into the match in tatters, with the score reading 4 for 31 by the time stumps rolled around, with only Joe Root showing any sort of defiance as he made it to 12 not out.

England found themselves still 51 runs behind in the match, and needing to score that just to make the home side bat again in a match they had to win to keep their hopes of winning the series alive following dreadful performances in both Brisbane and Adelaide.

Border, speaking on Fox Cricket at the close of play said he felt sorry for Haseeb Hameed and the English side, while speculating even Bradman would have struggled.

“They got absolutely hammered for an insipid batting display, but you’ve got to give credit to the bowling and the surface is just difficult. So the 185 isn’t as bad as it seems,” Border said.

“They’ll get hammered again for the display tonight, but some of those deliveries, I defy Donald Bradman to get bat on them. So Australia’s 267 is a pretty good score in the end.

“I feel sorry, generally not for England, but for that one young opener, he must think Test cricket’s the hardest game in the world.

“It’s almost like it (the pitch) came to life that last hour. I know the quality of bowling was just superb, but gee the pitch just helped out. The odd one – the ‘spitting cobra’ – you get that first ball as a young opener and press forward to the fuller deliveries, it’s just very difficult batting conditions.

“The atmosphere at the ground was just electric and the last hour of cricket was extraordinary.”

England got off to a horrid star on Day 3 as well, with the match all but certainly gone, their score reduced to 7 for 61, still 21 runs behind Australia shortly after the first drinks break.