Ashes 2013/14: England should blood youth if seniors don't have stomach for fight
Wicket-keeper Prior and gun-player Pietersen are under the microscope...
Last Updated: 17/12/13 9:35am
Australia regained the urn in emphatic style, their 150-run win in Perth securing an unassailable 3-0 lead with two Tests to play, as England were bowled out for 352 in their second innings despite a maiden century from Ben Stokes.
Skipper Alastair Cook conceded that his side had been no match for a "very ruthless" Australia side and Lloyd said the selectors must now decide whether it's time to introduce new blood into the team.
"Alastair Cook said the players have either lost form or not performed," said Lloyd. "But he then said the commitment within the team, within the dressing room is absolutely fine. He also said 'we have been found out'. I would say, 'so what now?'
"He also said 'we have not been good enough'; the next thing he said was 'we carry on the same'. No you don't! There has got to be a reaction.
"England have got a number of days before the next game and the decision for the selectors, the manager, the captain is what do they come up with for the next game? They are 3-0 down.
"Do they draw the line under a few careers and say 'thanks ever so much. You've been terrific, you've been brilliant but we start again'?
"There are not many areas they can go to. Ian Botham will protect the bowlers all day long and I'm slightly with him because unless the batters get the runs in the first innings it nullifies the bowlers, especially the spinners. But Cook did say that some of them have not performed. Now what?"
Two Tests into his career Stokes tops England's batting averages with 41, having hit England's only century of the series, leading the way from Ian Bell (38) while Kevin Pietersen and Cook average 27 and 25 respectively.
Stuart Broad remains England's leading wicket-taker in the series with 14, double that of James Anderson (average 58) and Graeme Swann (average 80).
But despite the unflattering statistics - and with seamers Boyd Rankin, Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn and uncapped batsman Gary Ballance waiting in the wings - Lloyd does not expect England's XI to change drastically for the fourth Test, which begins on Boxing Day.
"There won't be wholesale changes, of course, and you could argue that eight players will play [at the MCG] - they pick themselves," said Lloyd.
"But the wicketkeeper is under the microscope and there will be younger wicketkeepers who could come in and do that job.
"Kevin Pietersen is an interesting one. Your gun-player, your best player has been out-performed at number four by Michael Clarke.
"The one thing I would say having been in dressing rooms where everything has been reversed is 'are these the best players?'
"You'd probably say 'yes, they are' but then you look them in the eye - and how matches they've played - and ask if they've still got the stomach for this.
"Or have we got younger players like Ben Stokes - who has been sensational in his first Test matches - who can do the same?"
Former England captain Andrew Strauss said now is not the time to make hasty decisions.
"I think you've got to be very careful in these circumstances so you don't fall in the trap of making knee-jerk reactions and making emotional decisions.
"These are some of England's best-ever players. If you are going to drop them, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons - not just because you are looking for a scapegoat.
"If you are looking for a scapegoat, you could probably make an argument that says 10 of them shouldn't be playing at the moment."
He added: "At the end of the series, you will have a better idea of where some of these senior players are. How much stomach have they got left for the fight now that the Ashes have gone?
"Then you've got to make some hard decisions. This is Cook's opportunity to take the team by the scruff of the neck and show some of the senior players who is really in control and in charge of the team. But I would say wait until the end of the series and not halfway through.
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns at 9pm.