Ashes 2013/14: England must 'man up' after being blown away in three Tests
Ben Stokes was a breath of fresh air as he showed the way and stood up to Australians...
Last Updated: 18/12/13 12:38am
Australia seized an unassailable 3-0 series lead with a 150-run victory in Perth as the tourists were bowled out for 353 despite a gutsy maiden Test century from Ben Stokes.
Head coach Andy Flower admitted that England's batting frailties had hurt them badly but insisted that there is enough desire in the camp to compete in the final two Tests of the series.
Botham told Sky Sports that the players have some tough questions to answer before the fourth Test begins in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
"If I was Flower I wouldn't say very much tonight - I'd let the moment sink in," he said. "'You've lost the Ashes, boys - we can't change that. Have a think about it. How much does it hurt you?'
"Tomorrow there are a lot of things to chew over because they've been absolutely blown away in three Tests - there's no escaping it - they've been absolutely pummelled.
"It's not easy to get up off the canvas when you are in that situation and that's why I think Ben Stokes was a breath of fresh air. He had no baggage. He came in and didn't care if it hit a crack. His shot selection was good and he took the game to the Australians.
"You let the dust settle and then you ask some honest, hard questions. Do you want to play in this next game, are you going to perform in this next game? To be honest England haven't performed, they've been bitterly disappointing to watch and frustrating to watch because we know they are better than that.
"England need a bit more ticker. Get out there and be a bulldog. Wear those colours on your chest and say 'you've got to knock me over to get this'. Show passion. There's no point talking about it - you've just got to go out there and do it. They've been under-par, they've been blown away. Man up."
England's latest defeat follows thrashings in Brisbane and Adelaide, where they lost by 381 runs and 218 runs respectively, looking a far cry from the side that won the Ashes 3-0 this summer.
Explaining the dramatic turnaround, Botham pointed to the batsmen's inability to deal with the pace and hostility of Australian seamer Mitchell Johnson, who has taken 23 wickets at 15.47 runs apiece in the series so far.
"I don't doubt the commitment is there because they train hard and they work hard but you've got to have a bit of heart and guts it out at times," he said.
"The way we've been blown away at times by one man, Mitchell Johnson, on flat decks is just not good enough.
"You are certainly not going to win Ashes Tests if you come out and perform like that. England have been under-par, disappointing most of the time and embarrassing at times.
"There have been a couple of hour sessions in these games where five or six wickets have gone. England lost six wickets for 70-odd runs in the first innings here - that's just not good enough."
England's leading wicket-taker Stuart Broad (14 wickets at 25.21) is doubtful for the fourth Test after sustaining a foot injury while batting in Perth.
No other bowler has taken 10 wickets in the series as yet - senior seamer James Anderson (seven at 58.42) and spinner Graeme Swann (seven at 80.00) both struggling to make in-roads - yet Botham said he sympathises with England's attack.
"I feel a bit for the bowlers because they've only had two days in the whole series where they haven't been in the field and that's because the batsmen have not performed in the first innings," he said.
"So if the bowlers are looking tired, I'm not surprised. The batters need to look at themselves. There's usually a bowlers - batsmen camp somewhere in the dressing room, so I'm sure the bowlers will be reminding the batsmen 'we did our part, boys, where were you?'"
He added: "To lose the Ashes is massive. When you've won the Ashes - and you've been lucky enough to win it a few times - you know what it means and how much it means and Australia will celebrate long into the night. I hope they have a great night because they've worked hard and totally outclassed England.
"All credit to Australia - they never let England back in and when they went for the jugular they did it in style."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns at 9pm.