Pick of the day
We look back on day three of the fifth and final Ashes Test
Last Updated: 05/01/14 5:45pm
The tourists capitulated for the 10th and final time in this Ashes series, their second innings total of 166 leaving them 281 runs behind Australia's combined score.
Even that total was due mainly to some swashbuckling strokeplay from Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad, coincidentally probably the only players to have emerged from the tour with their reputations intact.
The top and middle order collapsed once again, this time England finding themselves 95-7 including a spell where they lost five wickets for 38 runs.
Ryan Harris once again took the plaudits with figures of 5-25 to finish with 22 wickets in the series, while Mitchell Johnson added 3-40 to take his total to 37 over the five matches, earning him Player of the Series.
The fact is that the Aussies out-batted, out-bowled, out-thought and out-fought their biggest rivals on the final day - just as they had for the vast majority of the entire series.
Lehmann unsung hero
Former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann was installed as coach on the eve of the Ashes series in England last summer, to the surprise of many who believed he lacked the experience to lead at the highest level. In addition, 'Boof' was always a traditional cricketer who did not concern himself with the more analytical aspects of the game - but it is this attitude that he believes has been the cornerstone of success. "We just talked about being 'old school', making sure they're enjoying the game and playing good hard Aussie cricket," Lehmann told Sky Sports. Really proud of what they've achieved as a group, both players and support staff." While the England dressing room has come in for plenty of stick this winter, Australia's can be proud that they have been able to turn their team's fortunes around.
Cook retains belief
Fans and critics alike will be looking for scapegoats after watching England's destruction over the past few weeks, with captain Cook firmly in the firing line. Cook lifted the famous urn just four months ago but that was something of a hollow victory with the Australian team in disarray and England not having to be at their best to claim a 3-0 series win. How the tables have turned. Back-to-back Ashes series seems to have drained the England players, whereas the Aussies - stung into action by their loss in England - have been galvanised. Cook, as a batsman and a leader, finds himself under close scrutiny but with the backing of coach Andy Flower and ECB boss David Collier he believes he is the man to bring about a change in fortunes. "There's anger in me and frustration because for whatever reason we haven't played very well, and the buck stops with me," he said. "I am desperate to try and turn it around. I feel as if I am the right man to do it."
Harris a hero
After missing the first Test at Trent Bridge last summer Harris, in the twilight of his career and with a history of knee problems, has played in nine successive Ashes Tests taking 46 wickets. And while a resurgent Mitchell Johnson has stolen many of the headlines with his aggressive pace, Harris has provided a perfect foil with his nagging line and length and ability to move the ball in the air and off the pitch. Harris epitomised an Australia team that has seen the same 11 players take the field for all five of this winter's matches. "We just wanted to make sure the pressure we built in Brisbane and Adelaide we kept on throughout the series and we got the result we wanted," he said. "The knee gets sore but I'll do anything for this team." Which seems to sum up the attitude of those in the Baggy Green.
Botham not amused
Sir Ian squared up to the 'old enemy' on more than one occasion - with memorable results - so it must be difficult for one of England's finest players to witness such a meltdown. Not only their technique, but their character has been placed under the microscope primarily by the Australian bowlers, and Botham was not impressed by the batsmen's capitulation over the past few weeks. "I'm pretty depressed and embarrassed - I use that word, embarrassed, and I mean it," he said. "I feel sorry for the fans because they haven't had any value. The juggernaut started up in Brisbane where they got bullied and they've been hammered throughout the series and it has been pretty weak, to be honest. I am not allowed to use the words that are flashing through my head at the moment. I just think it was spineless."
Flower - stay or go?
Coach Andy Flower admitted their should be some changes within the England structure, although decisions should not be rushed. Flower's conduct and professionalism are widely respected within the game and he and Cook have been given the backing of the ECB to lead the side forward. "I, as leader along with Alastair, we have to analyse the decisions we have made," he said. "A full and logical review in the near future might answer some of those questions." He added that the batsmen failed to deal with the pace of Mitchell Johnson, and that changes are likely to be made prior to the visit of Sri Lanka in the spring. "This does feel like the end of an era and a chance of some sort of renewal for the England cricket team. This wasn't good enough so there should be change of some description."