Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day

England return to the bad old days

After years of improvement and investment, an ageing England side produced a medley of the bad old days at the WACA

George Dobell

December 15, 2013

Comments: 81 | Text size: A | A
#PoliteEnquiries: Is Matt Prior's career over?

Like an ageing entertainer on a farewell tour, England produced a medley of the bad old days of English cricket on the third day at the WACA.

They gave us a classic batting collapse, an insipid display of bowling, a couple of dropped catches, a comic missed stumping and that old standard, an injury to a key player, during a performance that underlined the sense that the belief has long since drained from this side.

It seemed that all the years of improvement, the investment into central contracts and academies, the input of high-profile coaches and the attention to detail that saw such initiatives as the production of an 80-page cookbook and the appointment of an army of support staff so vast it now comprises a spot welder and a woman who makes balloon animals, had never happened. It could have been 1994-95.

It is hard to pinpoint England's lowest moment on a day so full of them that you could go pot-holing in the ignominy. Might it have been the sight of England's No 6 flashing at a ball outside the off stump in the manner of a tail-ender? Might it have been the sight of Stuart Broad on crutches? Or might it have been the sight of Matt Prior, for so long a beacon of excellence in this side, flailing around behind the stumps like a drowning man? Or perhaps it was simply the sight of Tim Bresnan taking the new ball. Whatever the plan was when England named three giant fast bowlers in their squad for this series, it surely wasn't Bresnan taking the new ball at the WACA.

But the sight of Graeme Swann and James Anderson carted around Perth by David Warner and co might be considered most dispiriting of all from an England perspective. Both men have long been fine servants of this team and both men are in the top six Test wicket takers in England history. But it is becoming increasingly hard to avoid the conclusion that they are players in decline. Their series averages - seven wickets at 48.85 for Anderson and seven wickets at 74.14 for Swann - are far from the levels required if England were going to win this series.

There is no obvious drop in pace from Anderson. There have been times in this match when he has hit 90mph on the speed gun and his control has remained admirable. He is the only member of the England attack to concede fewer than three runs in a series throughout the series to date.

But whereas in 2010-11 - the series in which he claimed 24 wickets at an average of 26.04 - he was able to generate lateral movement, here he has struggled to find the seam or swing to trouble batsmen on such good pitches. More worryingly, he has failed to gain the movement found by his Australian counterparts.

It may be that England have simply asked too much of Anderson. There was a time when the side were uncomfortable reliant upon him - remember that 14-over spell that sealed the Trent Bridge Test. Certainly the vision of him bowling in Australia's second innings, with the game long gone and the temperature well over 40 degrees, was like using a sports car to carry scaffolding.

It is a similar tale with Swann. On pitches offering him little, he was always likely to struggle for bite. But the fact is, he has been out-bowled by his opposite number, Nathan Lyon and, in conceding nearly four-an-over, has been unable to give his captain the control required to build pressure.

It is not just that he has struggled to gain any turn; that must be expected on these wickets. He has also struggled for the dip that used to make him such a dangerous bowler and he has failed to gain the bounce that has, at times, rendered Lyon the more dangerous operator.

But the bowlers are not the primary reason for England's imminent Ashes defeat. It is not the bowlers who have dropped chances or bowlers that have batted so feebly. It is not the bowlers' fault that they have, in three successive matches, been forced back into the field for the second innings without adequate rest and with the Australian batsmen enjoying an enviable match position. England have hardly given their bowlers a chance.

Matt Prior missed the chance to stump David Warner, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 15, 2013
Matt Prior's missed stumping against David Warner was just one of many blemishes for England © PA Photos

No, the main reason for England's defeat will have been their batsmen. First innings totals of 136, 172 and 251 are simply inadequate. At times when England should have showed patience and application, they have tried to hit themselves out of trouble like novices.

So it was entirely typical that, of the three remaining top-order batsmen at the start of day three here, two should lose their wickets in the morning session to reckless attacking strokes. Prior and Stokes followed Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen in departing to unnecessary shots that spoke volumes for the pressure built up by Australia's disciplined attack and the desperation of a batting line-up that have lost faith in their ability to grind out totals from tough positions.

The last time - 22 innings and 10 months ago - that England scored 400, against New Zealand at Wellington, England had two centurions: Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott. In the aftermath of the game, there were suggestions that such a pairing in the top three might result in England scoring too slowly. That England might need to score quicker to win games. That England needed to be more positive.

At Leeds, in May, England beat New Zealand by 247 runs only to be bombarded by criticism for their slow rate of scoring. Compton was dropped and Trott was described as one-paced and even selfish by some.

Right now, such a view looks more than a little foolish.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by tuffersmagic on (December 16, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

madhu_ayyagari - haha absolutely spot on. The English media always gets carried away to the extreme with things, whether the sport is cricket, rugby or football. The fact is the warning signs were there last summer, and 3-0 was flattering. However, credit must go to Australia. As I said on here at the start of the series, Harris and Johnson on form will be a tough prospect for anyone. Fact is, there is so little genuine quick bowling in the world now that batsmen have forgotten how to play it.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

Ageing ? In 54-55 we had Hutton, Edrich, May, Compton, (young) Cowdrey, Bailey, Evans, Tyson, Wardle, Appleyard, Statham .. In 70-71 Boycott, Luckhurst, Edrich, D'Olivera, (old) Cowdrey or Fletcher / Hampshire, Knott, Illingworth, Snow, Lever, Shuttleworth / Willis, Underwood .. In 1968, Boycott, Edrich, Cowdrey, Graveney, Barrington, D'Olivera, Knott, Knight / Illingworth, Snow, Brown, Underwood .. Difference was these guys played cricket 6 or 7 days a week .. played for counties between Tests .. They worked out their own problems and techniques .. Fact is Australia could have drawn 2-2 in summer .. They are better than England's backroom experts realised ..

Posted by Vikas_Vadgama on (December 16, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

This happens when you do not have respect for your work place. The work place is a place which is to be worshipped. For a cricketer, a cricket pitch is the work place. And I remember England players peeed on the pitch after winning the Ashes in England. Hence, this was bound to happen. Only if England players feel sorry from the bottom of their heart and ask for forgiveness from The Almighty, their fortunes can still turn around. Else, a 5-0 is written on the wall.

Posted by DustyBin on (December 16, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

will Australian Immigration please release the real England team from its detention cells & let these 11 jobbing actors stop impersonating a team & go back to pantomime. anyway : following an English summer, in which the victors got no credit-all defeats were down to Australian inadequacy, supposedly-there seems a lot of focus on England shooting themselves in the foot now. They are playing as well as they are being allowed to play. This is Australia's victory, cleverly conceived & executed. They deserve the limelight & praise. Whether they sustain it, is harder to predict, but no one should diminish their achievement in making the opposition look ordinary.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 16, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

Accept your point @crockit, stiff enough to burst the bubble that was Eng cricket, February will be the measure of this team when they hit SA, based on our last few encounters, they'll be expecting stiff opposition I expect!

Posted by ronniereuben on (December 16, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

This is the same Australian Side- which lost 4-0 in India; they just don't know how to play "SPIN"(With Exception of - Smith). The point I am trying to make is that of Spinning option of Monty. He happens to be a left-armer and they are most difficult to play even on bouncy trakcs which do not assist spinner. Why isn't England Picking Monty(Who has more RPM-and more the RPM the more the chance of spinning the ball on a flat and bouncy wicket.) over Swann?Though I understand Monty was given a chance in 1- Game. But you cannot expect that a spinner who is given once chance in 8 test to perform straight away. He need to bowl regularly. Coming Back to Swann - Who has almost forgotten to Spin the ball. He is going through the same phase has "Indian Off- Breakee" Harbajjan did. The Result was he was dropped!!

Posted by madhu_ayyagari on (December 16, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

Cant agree more with legsidewide. English sports writers always exaggerate english sports performances to the extreme. Only a short time ego they were describing Greame Swann as the 'Greatest Spinner in the world', James Anderson as the 'Greatest Fast bowler in the world', Alastair Cook as the 'Greatest Batsman in the world' and conveyed the impression that the current English team is better than Clive Lloyd's West Indies team

Even this is nothing compared to what their Tennis writers do. If you read only English sports writers, you can be pardoned for thinking that Tim Henman is a mixture of Boris Becker and Pete Sampras and Andy Murray is better than Roger Federer and Ruffel Nadal combined

Posted by kensohatter on (December 16, 2013, 4:58 GMT)

As an Aussie I really thought we were in for a tough summer. This english side is/was full of class players and I was just hoping that we would put up a fight. Even after the Gabba I thought the poms would fight back. What has happened since then has been probably the biggest cricket upset since Mcgrath rolled his ankle in 05. England have just been ambushed and its about to cost them the urn. Whats worse for them is without Broad they 5-0 looks like a real possibility as they just seem unwilling to fight. Think it might also spell the end for Prior, KP and Swann to make way for youngsters as they have a relatively easy series against WI before they take on India

Posted by Robster1 on (December 16, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

Prior's been woefully out of form since the start of the last English season. Now his keeping has fallen away as much as his batting. With age catching up on Prior it has to be Bairstow for the rest of this series then either him or Buttler long term. Thanks Matt, but your time is done.

Posted by Rufus_Fuddleduck on (December 16, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

So good to see an article that is summed up in the headline itself. Quip must be in a parallel universe. Yesterday's piece on Cook was sanitising his performance and praising him for not running away. If that was all he could be praised for, there's nothing left to say really. Australia declare 500 ahead and so now England have to play five sessions and a bit more to save the match.

Posted by kar_rocks on (December 16, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Well this is the en england side that I am used to see. Last 2-3 years were an aberration.

Posted by neil99 on (December 16, 2013, 3:35 GMT)


You must have been watching a different series. England's performances have been inconsistent and at times very poor for 2 years. Series against Pak, SL. NZ and SA spring to mind - and half of this summer's Ashes. Not in decline? Pahh.

Jimmy Anderson has meandered in, with neither pace nor purpose. Broad has bowled okay, in terms of wickets, but he's bowled some very wayward spells. Australia might not be the best hunting ground for spinners, but Swann too has bowled poorly for the majority of the series. Overall, none of the England bowlers produce a consistent line and length andare incapable of maidens in succession. Tiredness is no excuse, these guys have central contracts. What is more important than representing your country? If you can't summon the will, then you shouldn't be on the field. England's cosy club springs to mind, which rewards below par performance with continual selection. It's about time certain players were dropped and made to earn their recalls.

Posted by Ducky610 on (December 16, 2013, 3:14 GMT)

It's funny, just a couple of months ago all of England were predicting they would walk all over us anywhere, were bagging Warner and Johnson (the two men competing for man of the series) and actually compared Swann/Anderson to Warne/McGrath... This is a good old fashioned reality check, and none of them like it. Root and Broad are the only men showing any fight, Swann has lost that annoying swagger, Anderson doesn't want to be their, KP salks every time a camera comes near him and Cook has resorted to setting ODI fields. It is glorious viewing for us Aussies

Posted by Scuderi on (December 16, 2013, 1:58 GMT)

England believed they were coming to play the Australian cricket team, but they are against an entire nation.

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 16, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

Reality is very few sides could have resisted the Australian bowling as it was particularly on the 2nd afternoon. The bowling was world class. I thought England did very well to get to 4 for 180 and I can't think of any side in world cricket who would have done better than that. The doomsayers can say what they like but sometime this afternoon or early tomorrow we will have our Ashes back. South Africa can wait.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (December 16, 2013, 1:30 GMT)

The English selectors started the decline with the silly decision to drop Nick Compton and then their stubborness to pick him again. Root and Carberry may be talented but as current opening options they are not a patch on Compton. Cook has also declined since Root and Carberry have started opening with him and England's batting has looked fragile since Compton's dropping.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

I hope England win a toss this series and can get 300/350 on the board (I know that's a lot of hoping!) as we really need to see Warner bat under pressure to gauge his sudden bloom in form. So far this series he's been able to play in one day/ T20 mode practically every innings which suits him perfectly. Keen to see his temperament when he shouldn't try to hook/ pull the first 6 balls of the innings.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 16, 2013, 1:28 GMT)

Please let's stop this "Australia have won the toss 3 times" nonsense, remember England won the toss in all 3 completed matches in England. The difference being that in England it is likely that Australia would have made good use of winning the toss, as they did in the rain affected drawn 3rd Test which they would have comfortably won but for the weather, whereas in Australia it is difficult to see England winning any off the 3 matches already played on the fast bouncy wickets here even if they had won the toss and batted first. Hopefully England will prove this by winning a toss, batting first, and getting pummelled in one of the remaining two Tests.

Posted by IAS2009 on (December 16, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

The defensive approach is the main factor in batting, England batsman playing too many poor shots to get out, then go in shell and don't score anything and when wickets fell it goes in bunches and score never moves, Look how Aussies get out of tight situation, positive intent to score, from 143 for 5 to 385 all out was good effort, Cook and Carberry played positively and scoring at good rate but after them everyone went in shell, Warner and Rogers were scoring boundaries and going for quick runs. Very long England tail is soft, the reason is out of form Prior, rest of tail throwing wickets away every game, they are not prizing their wickets, so not England like approach, it looks like old England team alike article says. bowling is guilty of short pitch bowling at critical times, this led slip the game away in all three tests so far, i see 5-0 Aussies win in this ashes, which is very good for Aussies considering it is supposed to be competitive series turns out to be lop sided.

Posted by legsidewide on (December 16, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

@Steve Patterson a "once great side"? Which team have you been watching? England have been mediocre and overhyped to the extreme, stumbling at every serious challenge thrown their way. No, this is a case of England playing to potential, nothing more. Let's have no more of this fantasy that this England team were anything but mediocre.

Posted by 000023 on (December 16, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

Greetings GD. Life's funny isn't it? Even 7 footers can have confidence issues? The English batsmen had mentally outplayed themselves splendidly. Now we have to get up and try to be counted for, and here Norman Vincent Peale's famous advice might be their best way out - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". A prayer might just be the way for each of them to find their way back! I am a die hard English Cricket supporter, and I wish Cook and guys the very best! Thanks PC.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (December 16, 2013, 0:18 GMT)

The entire English side seems wound up tighter than a bee's you know what. I'd suggest there is a cultural problem with the ridiculous food demands to the banning of media interactions. The game is as much about mental fortitude as it is physical talents. Being able to unwind is a very important part of success and right now i don't think the English team have the opportunities.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (December 16, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

The weather conditions probably have a lot to do with Andersons lack of lateral movement. The previous Ashes series was played in the wettest summer in a century in Australia. I didn't see a lot of rain or moisture around these last three days in Perth, except the sight of kids drowning their hats under taps to try to keep themselves cool in 40+ temps.

It's hard to pinpoint what has gone wrong here with England. I think they have just been mentally underprepared - soft. Success came a bit too easily in England, even when they didn't play well. I think that led to a high degree of delusion amongst the media especially, and this tricked down to the team.

Posted by kepler22b on (December 16, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

M. Dobell - I loved the 'moving scaffold in a sports car' allusion.

valvolux on (December 15, 2013, 16:36 GMT) . Spot on with Carberry. He has looked pretty good. The poms are very unlikely to grind out a draw in Perth though.

Next English captain (straight after this series) is Bell. Cook just doesn't inspire confidence (just watch his post Adelaide conference to see what I mean)whereas Bell does.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 16, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

For my money it was the superhuman 32 overs in the second innings at Nottingham that seemed to drain Anderson of his life force. Since that moment it's as if his spirit has left his body. He is a shell of the bowler he once was, shell shocked and befuddled. Occasionally something in him twitches into life, briefly, but he needs some serious R and R, maybe it would have been better if he had the foot injury to give him time out out the game like MJ.

Posted by whensdrinks on (December 15, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

@ SurlyCynic "It's not a return to the 'bad old days'. It's a return to the good old days. The good old days when trundlers like Anderson with 30+ avgs weren't hailed as the best bowler in the world by a hysterical press. The days when negative tactics and timewasting weren't rewarded with test wins"

Give this man a beer! Hooray for the team trying hardest to win, rather then trying not to lose, getting the victory.

Posted by crockit on (December 15, 2013, 23:26 GMT)

pat_one Aus are not stiff opposition in good form. They are a very average team on home turf who are playing out of their skin with good tactics from the skipper and opponents who are playing way below capacity and for whom some serious cracks in back up talent and selection (not to say attitude and self-belief) are beginning to show.

Posted by ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick on (December 15, 2013, 23:16 GMT)

There's not much between these two sides, really. Both play well at home, both have unreliable batting lineups. The tosses have proven to be crucial if you look at the tests in England and Australia. The two areas that Australia appear to be clearly superior though are fielding and the tail can bat. Prior is England's standard bearer in these areas. For so long he has been a thorn in Australia's side but now is a shadow of the player he was - he has to go. Stokes is not a number 6 and never will be, he's a bowling all rounder and should bat 7 or 8 - time to give Ballance a go. Now that Broad (who is the English spearhead) is unlikely for Melbourne, Rankin or Finn will play but the selectors are unlikely to play both. This means that Bresnan (who is not a bowler for Australian conditions) will play alongside 2 players out of form (Anderson and Swann) and a player that the selectors have no faith in really (Rankin/Finn). Good luck England - you'll need it!

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 23:00 GMT)

Swan and Anderson . . . no so good when the pitches aren't doctored for them, are they?

Posted by oxfordlaw on (December 15, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

England can do no worse than get Bairtsow in for Prior, and get Finn and Co in bowling in the 4th Test, and someone have enough sense to make Root vice captain and get Compton back into the side. The time to start re-building is now !

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (December 15, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

I've never really liked Swann - always thought he was a good bowler but overrated. But seeing him bowling that negative two feet away from off stump line against Warner really made me die a little bit inside.

Posted by kitten on (December 15, 2013, 22:46 GMT)

I can't believe England have fallen to this level. And to think before this series started, Beefy stated that England would steam roll Australia to a 5-0 victory!!! He probably meant the other way around! No word from him yet, I wonder why. The fact remains that even though Australia lost the previous series 3-0, they were on par with England all the way, and if it was not for the rain interruptions, the scorecard would have been much closer. Australia were on the way back, and England did not take them too seriously. In any case, I am sure the cricketing world is happy to see Australia starting to bounce back. It is great to once again see a strong Australian team, and I wish WI and Pakistan also get their act together, making every series great to watch, instead of one-sided affairs. Go Australia go, regain the urn which you have rightly earned this series.

Posted by Andrew73 on (December 15, 2013, 22:44 GMT)

I think England may have broken Anderson at Trent Bridge - even in that series he never looked quite the same after that herculean effort (which may have actually won them the series - it could have been very different if Australia had managed to pinch that game). Rumours of his decline are likely to be unfounded, but he needs a long rest to recover properly after this series before we'll see his best again.

Posted by jackiethepen on (December 15, 2013, 22:42 GMT)

It's a very good point by strikeforce that the same strategy is being employed in this test as in the previous 3 tests. But I would go further. This is the same strategy which Flower has always employed with diminishing returns. Did he really expect this series to follow the pattern of 2010-11? First of all Trott's breakdown is hardly mentioned now - even ignored by George Dobell - which should have warned us that something was more deeply wrong in the camp. George writes as though Trott is still an option. He left suffering from severe stress problems which meant he couldn't cope with the Australian bowling and looked as though he was unravelling all summer. Matt Prior seems to be in the same downward spiral. Kevin Pietersen has hardly put bat to ball. Bell who was in sparkling form against the same bowlers in England had all but dried up. Root has one decent innings only. Flower and Gooch do not know how to galvanise the team. The coach has to be replaced. Cook given another chance.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 15, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

I think England have simply been stunned and appalled at the ferocity of the Aussies. They didn't think we had it in us and prepared for another picnic in the park rather than a knock em down, drag em out brawl. They were expecting champaign and finger food, not the bar stool across the back of the head they got.

I think they completely and utterly under-estimated just how sick to the pit of their stomachs our team is of being beaten by England. They mightn't be our strongest side but they are still Australians and rightly or wrongly we don't like to lose too much. There's just too much history behind us to ever allow us to become comfortable losers. .. To sum it up, I think England just forgot, temporarily, exactly who it is they're up against. .. all we've done is give them a polite reminder.

Posted by nickduck on (December 15, 2013, 22:38 GMT)

Will people stop saying that this England team are out of form and tired. They are highly paid professionals who get plenty of down time between series. The batsmen have simply been worked out by the Australian team. It started in the summer and the same strategies have been brilliantly executed by the Australian bowlers in this series. Hence the mental disintegration of Trott in Brisbane which seems to have spread through the rest of the team throughout the series. If all other test nations continue to employ the same perfectly executed bowling strategies against the English batsmen I think you will find their 'lack of form' becomes slightly more chronic if not terminal.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (December 15, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

@ nutcutlet - that is a huge call. One I can't see the England management making.

So assuming Australia go one to win this series and it's a proper thumping 4 nil or 5 nil. Then what do England do after the series? Heads roll, older players retire?

Australia has already tried filling a team with young promising players and it didn't work. We only started winning again with a mixture of youth and experience.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 15, 2013, 22:10 GMT)

My father, a professional cricketer himself, once told me how cricket was a game of sea-saw. I didn't understand him back then, but now I definitely do. In the winter of 2010/11, England were oozing with confidence, aggressive intent, and charisma; pretty similar to what Australia are now exhibiting. Also, English players back then were all in form at the same time. That was their ingredient to success in Ashes cricket. England then carried that form into the series against India nailing them 4-0 and then played good consistent cricket for the next 2 years. They were far from being a 'great' team since they failed against Pakistan in the UAE and played ordinarily against NZ. They did beat India in India which deserves a lot of credit. So all in all, England were simply 'in form' for 2 years. Now, they are not. It also has to do with the mechanical think-tank of Flower and the ECB, who have done more harm to the players than any other source. It's time for rebuilding. Well done Aus.

Posted by chitti_cricket on (December 15, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

England as put by some or may be all is a team in decline and Aussies a team forging together to greatness. That is the stark difference between two sides this ashes.England need not be beaten with a stick for their performance, instead any team would have had same fate playing this Australian team, may be England has spurred more inspiration into them by beating them in last three Ashes.For a team to win there need three things in cricket 1.good batting2.good bowling unit3.good fielding which is what Aussies have at this moment and England does not. Is it not visible of that in all these three tests! Bet this is going to be another 2005-6 Ashes I have said that in may posts in this site. Unless a final test Aussies may concede when they thoroughly drunk and lack motivation as once famously Nasir Huasian has put it.

Posted by MasterBlaster100 on (December 15, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

Eng collapsed twice in Brisbane and lost their prolific number 3...somehow the collective brains trust decided the answer to that crisis was to ditch the policy that has served them so well over the last 4 years. With Prior struggling it was even more ridiculous. Nothing against Stokes but what a time to abandon the consistent selection of 6 specialist batsmen!!

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (December 15, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

Its actually sad to see this England side degenerate to what it has. Truth is Australia have been beset by poor coaching and selection until Lehman took charge and I think that was as much to blame for poor results as England being a good side. Also I think the folly of back to back Ashes contests has hurt this series as a spectacle. England shouldn't have had to defend the urn so quickly. England are on a downward trajectory after being good for so long. 2006/7 was an aberration as the Australian side of that era was exceptionally strong. This era for England begun in 2005 so its a long time to be "up". Its sad to compare this Ashes contest to 2005, makes you realize how memorable it was. Cook, Carberry, Root, Bell, Broad, Stokes are a start to build a new side around. I think your problems are on the coaching side. Cook needs to be in charge and run things himself with "support" from the coaches. When Cook has used his "own" imagination he has looked like a leader & been good.

Posted by StJohn on (December 15, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

As an England supporter, I can only turn to my feeble attempt at Haiku to sum things up:

Dismal dismal dismal Eng- -land dismal dismal dismal dismal dismal why?

I think I'll go down the bookies and have a punt on whatever odds I can get on 5-0 to Australia. I wish England could just concede and come home. It is just pointless and painful watching this rubbish.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 15, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

Three key factors undermining Eng this series, 1. Aust are winning tosses and batting first, 2. Aust are scoring big in the lower order on day 2, 3. Aust are bowling exceptionally well as a group

This is the same Eng team that won 3-0 in an evenly fought out series where Aust dominated the later tests without reward. There is no point beating up on Eng now because they have hit stiff opposition in good form, like the WACA the cracks were always there it just took some heat to open them up.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 15, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Permit me to amplify your comment, @valvolux on (December 15, 2013, 16:36 GMT): "The pitch is still playing well, england could still escape with a draw with a bit of luck." In 2005-6 at the WACA South Africa escaped with a draw. They batted 126 overs reaching 287/5 with perennial underachiever Rudolph getting an unbeaten century. What price England batting through 150 overs? SA did it against McGrath, Lee and Warne. But there are crucial differnces: It was the first test of a 3-test series. Also. it was a much slower WACA track without the kind of cracks visible now. Nevertheless, England should take heart from this rather than contemplate an assault achieved by the next SA team which got that 400+ score! It suits there negative mindset better.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 15, 2013, 19:19 GMT)

Sometime tomorrow, or possibly early on Tuesday morning, the Ashes will have gone. Rebuilding a worn-out team needs to begin straight away. Jonny B for Prior is beginning to look nailed on to me. Panesar must have Swann's place (and I really would have played him at the waca anyway - and said so), Let's have a look at Ballance too. So, barring a major contribution from KP in the 2nd inns, that's whose place he has. If Broad isn't fit, then Finn or Rankin must at last get a run out. They can't both have forgotten how to bowl since they last played. It will be high-risk; it will ask the remaining senior players, like Bell, Jimmy & Bres to stand up & support Cook in giving these lads a positive experience. Let's see who can handle the pressure - thrown them in at the deep end, if you like. They are all young enough to come again if their first ventures don't deliver. This has to be a clearing-out time. The 4th & 5th Tests shouldn't go to waste. Let them become meaningful in the long term.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

@madan shivakumar the truth is that there are no rains to save them on this tour......i completely agree that it is the same case that happened with india post wordlcup 2011. All of the senior players lost there form and that was bound to happen everyone had there peaks at the sametime.....same as india had SRT, dravid, sehwag, vvs, gauti at there peak form from 2008-2010.....and then came the sorry tale of 10-1 vs eng(home&away)/aus (away).......before same happens to england now......they should filter there side quickly.

Posted by DalesGuy on (December 15, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

The penultimate and last paragraphs are pertinent. ECB should not award the telecast rights to Sky unless they sack Gower and Botham! The former made derisory comments even in a Leeds restaurant about Trott's 'slow batting' and then he was horrified to see Trott and his wife in a nearby table! All the so called pundits and the coaching team should really feel ashamed for destroying so many cricketers like Trott, Compton, Taylor and so on.

Posted by cloudmess on (December 15, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

Whereas 20 years ago English cricket was still run like a cliquey old boys' club, with many details left to chance, now it has gone too far the other way - the players are now so regimented and regulated they are never really allowed to switch off. Swann and Anderson are not suddenly bad players - but they do seem very weary in mind and spirit. The batsmen are not necessarily playing worse, only that they're now making mistakes much earlier in their innings, which again is an indication of fatigue. The pairing of Flower and Gooch has become too two-dimensional, a management who believe in work, work and more work. The great Australian sides of a decade ago were not managed in that way; nor is the current. Mistakes are also starting to creep into selection - the old English amateur habit of picking someone (Stokes) who can bat a bit and bowl a bit, without being up to test class with either.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

Thankfully I haven't been able to watch much of this Ashes series! It's sad when a once great side become a poor one and credit to those damn Aussies - they've certainly capitalised on abysmal England form. For me the saddest thing about this test was the reinstatement of Tim Bresnan which seems an admission that there's no talent to be had? Bresnan has consistently proved his mediocrity and David Warner treated him like the medium paced trundler he is! Maybe it's all one of Baldrick's 'cunning plans' to lure the Aussies into a false sense of security? Congratulations Australia and humiliations England! Time to rebuild...... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by noor114 on (December 15, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

To cut to the short - Drop Prior & Kevin and get Jonathan Bart and Tailor - they are the telented player. Give captaincy to Root new comer can do better job then cooki.

Posted by strikeforce2003 on (December 15, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

Broken in mind and spirit, defeated in approach and concentration, stupid in choosing the wrong set of bowlers on this vital 3rd test, arrogance in just following the same strategy as in the previous 3 tests by Cook & his support staff, not being resourceful in batting in accordance to the situationn, bad body language and defeatist attitude by the team on field...all this and more has castled thus rather 'fabled test team' as seemingly inglorious ..........!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 15, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

This series is in someways even worse than 1994/5. It is like 2006/7 really as well. it is almost like the team we saw in England has been substituted by cloned doubles,with the sporting ability gene extracted before production. Or the 'mysterons' have taken them over; anyway this self destruct mode is both tedious and annoying.I suppose one just has to laugh at them as the reality is too pathetic for words. Someone has to pick them up and really Cook has to take the lead in this along with KP and Bell. Words are truly cheap here when uttered by the players.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 15, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

It's not a return to the 'bad old days'. It's a return to the good old days. The good old days when trundlers like Anderson with 30+ avgs weren't hailed as the best bowler in the world by a hysterical press. The days when negative tactics and timewasting weren't rewarded with test wins.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

the truth is that England were given the first blow when the Aussies blew them apart in the first innings at gabba... ever since then England have hardly shown the stomach for a battle... it is not Johnson that they are worried fact Mitch hardly imposed upon them on a pitch like the WACA.. the batsmen look woefully out of form and it can lead to prolonged failures like this... remember India in England during 2011? though all of laxman sachin dravid sehwag and dhoni had played well in England before only dravid could score consistently... I guess England will now understand how it is to go through a marathon tour with so many players out of their peak! it is a part of cricket and endless talking isn't going to help them win! they need to tinker with the combination till they find a confident bloke who can put in an inspiring performance with either bat or ball... Gary ballance should be given a run ... even bairstow is fearless and should be tried out ...

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

The warning signs were there last summer but England were too arrogant to pick up on them. Clearly Compton was treated badly and the inclusion of Rankin and Tremlett is a mystery. Like the Aussies in the early 2000s this is a team in serious decline and it will take a while to turn it around. I've never been a Prior fan either so I won't be heart-broken if he is dropped.

Posted by valvolux on (December 15, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

No application from England's batsmen. The only guy who has genuinely looked comfortable this tour has been carberry, who has also had a fair few unlucky dismissals. Bell got a beauty today, you can't really blame him. But the once heralded English tail now seems to start at 6 and offer no more than a whimper. Anderson hasn't bowled poorly, his fielders have let him down more than once. Its just he's a swing bowler - and he just can't get it to swing this series. Harris has made him look second rate as a swing bowler in comparison. The pitch is still playing well, england could still escape with a draw with a bit of luck. Its too early to call it a day for their best players....they all still have another ashes in time Australia will probably be without harris, haddin, rogers and possibly even Clarke.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

England's peak was due to several key players hitting peak form at more or less the same time coupled with a successful formula of preparation and tactics. This trough is occasioned by several, if not all (Cook being the exception), key players losing form and confidence at the same time and the formula growing old, stale and unprofitable. There's no quick fix, but the opportunity should be taken to send KP, Prior, Anderson and Swann home, immediately, together with the injured Broad before too much damage is done (there's still a lot of mileage in these players at international level) and play Ballance, Bairstow (wk), Finn, Rankin and Panesar - or call up players from the Lions! With the Ashes gone, it would be a no-pressure situation to blood these players and it's hard to see them doing much worse than the "senior side".

Posted by pretoria on (December 15, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Catches win matches. This old adage was amply proven again. Eng batsmen showed very little application. On a very hot day you occupy the crease and wait for the bowlers to get tired.Bell got a peach. The rest simply had no balls for the fight. What happened to Compton? Was he left out because of his SA connection?

Posted by Beertjie on (December 15, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

England (like Australia) need a judicious blend of youth and experience. For the G a good team might read: Cook, Carberry, Root, Bell, Ballance, Bairstow, Stokes, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Rankin. Why bring players on tour if not to give them opportunities in dead rubbers?

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

The roots of this shambles were sown with the half-baked selections of Woakes & Kerrigan for the final test at The Oval last August, (where are they now?), compounded by the decision to allow key players like Cook, Bell, Swann & Anderson a complete break through Sept & Oct. Playing a few meaningless friendlies against not even 2nd rate opposition in empty stadiums at the start of this tour was no preparation for what England were hit with in Brisbane. Form cannot be turned on and off like a tap. Further, where are these tall fast bowlers who were preferred to Graham Onions, the leading wicket taker by far in the 2013 season? They've been noticeable only by their complete absence from the heat of battle. And yes, the criticisms of Trott & Compton not so long ago now look very foolish indeed. As for Australia, let's see how they go against South Africa next February before making them out to be anything special.

Posted by ronniereuben on (December 15, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

I seriously fail to understand that, How can a team win if "more than 60% of the regulars are terribly out of form or fail to apply themselves/focus on cricket"? It's time for "Rebuilding"!!!!

Posted by MianMoosa on (December 15, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

The amount of money, facilities, coaching staff, great cricket infrastructure & exposure is involved in English cricket, if such would have in Pakistan cricket system, no team in the world would even came close to us, it seems very often now that English cricket has no flair, no natural talent, a lot of players from other countries, very scientific, no aggression, a pre-planned route & game plan for the match,..... They have invested a lot of money & modernization in their cricket since last 2 decades, some very good results, but only for little time, it seems like old dirty days like 90,s are coming back for them again,,,,Hope i am wrong

Posted by neo-galactico on (December 15, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I'm seriously worried about Anderson. He has been lackadaisical for a while now. As the "spearhead" he is suppose to be the guy who fires the team up in difficult situations but hasn't done that since the 1st match of the previous series. The "wobble seam" was suppose to prise wickets in such conditions, he's suppose to be the most skillful bowler in the world after all. Along with Swann, they're Mcgrath and Warne reincarnated according to Saker. Swann has never been great against Right-handers and with Oz having more righties he was bound to struggle especially against Clarke and Smith.

Posted by Perplexed on (December 15, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

The comments about Anderson in this article reminded me of an article here on Cricinfo not so long ago where it was claimed that Anderson is the most skillful bowler n the world. I guess that was a bit off the mark, after all!

Posted by CrikiLeaks on (December 15, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

[cont.] Prior, Anderson & Petersen having a poor series at the same time has been soul destroying for England. I don't know how traumatic they have found Trott's sad departure, but it would be a shame if all 4 legacies were diminished by this tour. Personally I would like to see all 4 on the park for England playing to their abilities in the future. I think Flower's coaching has been found wanting on this tour. His emphasis on control & attrition have created a situation whereby England need both or have neither. i.e. If the opponent wrests control they are incapable of staging a battle of attrition to arrest the tide & their form of control relies entirely on attrition. The bowling group & Cook's consistency coupled with Petersen's explosiveness covered for the deficiencies in Flower's philosophy and style. His lack of initiative & failure to grasp the importance of inspiration to his players has many of them looking at early retirements. He needs to go & let them find their mojo.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

The thing is we always use to hear about this supposed depth of English cricket and other countries were riducled because they had no depth. I guess it was always a myth.

Posted by JimDavis on (December 15, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

I've another theory. This England side must have the highest quota of English born players for a decade or two?

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

these kinds of results happen we we believe more on reputation than the current form. We were blanked 0-4 in Eng, never gave chance to new players and then same thing happened in Aus. Rohit Sharma, who should have played in Eng and then in Aus, would have gained valuable experience in those defeats (do not how good he can be, but 60+ domestic average and good backfoot player should cut it good, same way James Taylor who came pretty good in India, why dropped from radar? India is a real tough place to play test cricket and those who started and succeeded have not done bad eg Cook, Williamson). And now we have a top 5 or 6 whose combined experience is not even 60 tests. Current form should always be the criteria. Trott was woefully out of it. A new #3 should have been tried in home ashes. When last time you won in Aus, top 3 were red hot and right now, Cook not in greatest form, a newcomer combined with Trott at #3, gave Aus that sniff and confidence, which they will not let go easily.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 15, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

It is true that Trott and Compton might slow the rates a little but they have both made big scores, something these guys haven't. All the current lineup does is accelerate the speed at which England lose. Dobell makes some excellent points here.

Posted by CrikiLeaks on (December 15, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

Swann bowled with fizz today, you can't judge a spinner at the WACA when his team is not competing adequately in other areas. He got Clarke and Warner at a crucial stage in the first innings. This test could have been close to gone before England had bat in hand if those two had built a partnership and then teed off. He also looked better with the bat than he has so far this series. So there is one positive George. Bell has far too much to do with too few resources around him. Batting him at five looks sound if you are even or on top in a series as he can rally or push the advantage. The batting in Brisbane should have been enough information to promote him to 3 post Trott's departure. Cook has far too much responsibility/expectation placed on him for each innings and his captaincy is placing him in a position where he is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. He is criticised for too few ideas per minute and criticised for consulting his leadership group.[cont.]

Posted by southern_sky on (December 15, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

very good summation. It is a pity that England aren't competitive but the cause of the rot has to be something going on within the squad.. The players aren't a tight knit unit willing to fight for each other and tough it out. Conversely, the Aussies are a galvanized team in a marauding mood, England the hapless victim.

Posted by CoverDrive88 on (December 15, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

As an Aussie I'm not unhappy to see England getting kicked but it worries me that this England team looks jaded. I've believed for a long time that Australian cricket is suffering long term damage as a result of too much international cricket. And it looks to me like England is suffering the same problem. There are way too many games in all three formats and that seems to be wearing players out while lessening the standard of domestic competitions. The second will have a disastrous impact on international cricket standards in due course. The other thing I have concerns about is the increasing influence of sports scientists. We're seeing more control from these guys, more skinfolds, more "homework", and more injured quicks, plus it seems to be wearing players down mentally. Australia is just lucky that we can afford to have four top quicks out at the same time at the moment.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

English are playing like our flat track bullies from India. Indians struggling abroad is kind of understandable given the sub standard wickets we play on. But it is really surprising to see England batting struggling in this series. Father time is catching up with the greats in the English batting line up. If the 3-0 verdict gets nailed at WACA, the seniors in the English side would be in for some serious inquisition from their media.

Posted by Unifex on (December 15, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

On the Guardian's live feed of the game, the commentator - a rabid English fan who wasn't best pleased - said of Prior's first missed stumping chance "he fumbled like a toddler learning to clap". Harsh but true.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 15, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

@Sam Morris, well it has happened for five tests in a row starting from the Durham test...

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

Who would have thought that we'd ever read the words Swann outbowled by Lyon.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 15, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

I think in cricketing terms England's lowest moment today was seeing hawkeye predicting top of middle stump for Bell. Things were never going to get worse again. " It's not ........... bowlers that have batted so feebly" Yes they have ! If England's last 6 had have scored like ours in this series, it'd be much closer.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

I hope we lose 5-0. At least then there may be a proper debate into the nepotism and cliques that have brought English cricket to this shambles. The omission of Compton and Onions from the touring party is now beginning to look less like misguidedness and more like cricketing suicide. Either of the two would have made a huge difference. Both would have made for a well-matched series.

Posted by Jeeves_ on (December 15, 2013, 13:45 GMT)

For me, Compton should have been there for the Ashes series in England, with Root at six. England missed a beat by fielding too many bits and pieces players, and not building a strong squad. The selectors should be fired en masse for doing such a foolish and incompetent job of it; I'm thinking particularly of selecting 3 out of form bowlers on height alone!!!!

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 15, 2013, 13:45 GMT)

Good, national-depreciating article. England are such good losers ;), there hasn't been a whiff of the whinging Poms or even the whinging generated by our supporters last Ashes (cheating, whether, conspiracies on the DRS, bad luck, etc). But I guess when you're being pummelled so heavily you kind of have to open both eyes (FFL we're waiting!).

Swann I thought bowled with lots of dip today and that threat he always had that Lyon can't get (bowling the flatter one that goes on with the arm - Lyon's seam isn't scrambled enough to get that natural variation) actually troubled both Warner and Rogers. He also was turning it appreciably he was just seriously let down by Prior. Warner should've been out three times. He kept worse than Matthew Wade and any Pom who's previously bagged Wade must accept that not even he had such an embarrassing display as prior's. It was like the Kamran Akmal half-laugh, half-feel sorry kind of sympathy that I was experiencing. Swann/Jimmy haven't been that bad.

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