Ashes 2013/14: England in disarray after another awful batting display
I want to see more fight, spirit and guts from the tourists, says Beefy...
Last Updated: 16/12/13 6:14pm
The tourists, 180-4 overnight, conceded their third first-innings deficit of the series by being bowled out for just 251 in 88 overs and trailed by 369 runs at stumps after Australia reached 235-3 in their second innings.
Opener David Warner made the most of two missed stumpings by England wicketkeeper Matt Prior to score a scintillating hundred and Botham told Sky Sports that the tourists must show more guts if they are to avoid a third defeat in as many Tests - a result that would cost them the Ashes.
"The wheels were well and truly off today," said the former all-rounder. "There are real problems for England. I'm just disappointed that I'm not seeing more fight, more spirit and a bit more guts.
"This is the Ashes. I just want to see a bit more and I'm not getting it. England look in disarray. The batting has been awful. We lost six wickets for 71 runs this morning.
"I think Australia have got the mind-set of 'if we get four down, maybe five, we're there - we'll be done in 20 overs' and that's pretty much the way it has gone. That's just not good enough."
England's total of 251 was a minor improvement on their first-innings tallies of 136 and 172 at Brisbane and Adelaide respectively and with Joe Root topping the batting averages with 33.50, Botham said the blame for the tourists' predicament lies firmly with their batsmen.
"The first innings is where they've let themselves down during the series," he said. "The Gabba was a perfectly good pitch, Adelaide was an excellent pitch and here was fine in the first innings.
"If this pitch does crack up a little bit more, England have got to look at their first innings performances and say 'that's where we're losing it, guys - we're not making the most of very good pitches'."
No England batsmen has scored a hundred in the series - Root's 87 in the second innings at Adelaide being the team's highest individual score so far - whereas Warner's 112 off 140 balls was his second century in three Tests.
The opener enjoyed two lives when Prior failed to take stumping chances when Warner had 13 and 89 to his name and Botham said he made the tourists pay dearly.
"He had the perfect platform," he said. "You've got a nice big, fat lead so you can go out there and let it go. There's no need for restraint and I'm sure Darren Lehmann would have pushed him out the door and said 'go and enjoy yourself'. I think he relishes it and it was a terrific innings.
"Prior would have seen that first chance all the way because it's way outside off-stump. It's not as though it has come from behind the body, so he'll be very disappointed. Warner had 13 at the time."
England's Stuart Broad played no part in the final two sessions of the day after he was struck flush on the foot by a Mitchell Johnson yorker that trapped him lbw for five.
The all-rounder will learn the extent of the injury when MRI scans are assessed but Botham felt England may have been over-protective of their player.
"Usually if there is a break he'd be in a boot so it doesn't look like there is a break, which is good news. But if it isn't a break, why wouldn't you just have a [pain-killing] jab in the foot and play?
"If you are going to have a fitness test in the net, why not go out into the middle and try and bowl a couple of overs. Then the adrenalin gets going because it's the Ashes and you might get through it. Nets are depressing anyway at the best of times."
Watch highlights of day three from 11.30am on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns at 9pm, on Sky Sports 3 and our live coverage of day four begins at 2.25am on Sky Sports 2.