Ashes 2013/14: England are battered and bruised but mustn't make wholesale changes
Tourists must stand up and show a bit of ticker in Perth...
Last Updated: 09/12/13 1:06pm
Some of our Ashes Panel (no names) know just what that feels like - and the rest have a fair idea!
So what do Nasser Hussain, David Gower, Andrew Strauss, Sir Ian Botham, David 'Bumble' Lloyd and Shane Warne make of England's predicament?
What's going wrong?
BUMBLE: England have been found out. Mitchell Johnson has been sensational for Australia - he's bowled beautifully. We know all of the songs about him bowling to the left and bowling to the right, but he's been devastating and he's had great support from Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon. England are battered and bruised. This has been a massive shock after winning 3-0 in England.
NASSER: What has disappointed me with England's batting is the repetitive nature of dismissals. People continue to get out the same way. I would challenge England's senior players to follow Joe Root's example. I'd say 'look at the way that this young lad on his first tour of Australia went about his business, the way he has played and his composure'.
DAVID: I don't think any department has been faultless. The bowling, at times, has also shown not quite the resolve that we saw from them in the summer. The catching has been faulty too. But these things happen when you are under pressure. But you can do nothing without runs on the board.
ANDREW: The players will be really hurting at the moment. Most of them experienced what it was like to win three years ago and now they are seeing what the other side of the coin looks like. It's all over to Perth now and they're going to have to find a way to play with more resolve and fight if they want to get anything out of the game. Cook needs to keep calm off the field - and not do anything crazy or hasty.
SHANE: Cook captained well at the start of the Test match but then it all fell apart with dropped chances, missed opportunities and then a poor shot in the second innings. Australia have kept the captain down for a period of time now. If Alastair Cook stands up and makes some runs, I think the rest of them can come with him.
So where do England go from here?
BEEFY: Ben Stokes was the quickest of the England bowlers, on debut. There's a message there. England have got to think about where they are going to go and say 'how much do you want it boys? Do you want to go home 5-0 or do you want to make a fight of it?' That's the question you've got to be asking the dressing room now. Australia wanted this so much.
SHANE: I'd be looking down the England squad and saying 'who is up for it? Who has got the fight for it? Who has got the ticker? Work out the balance of the team as well but who is going to put their hand up? That will come out in the next two or three days by who wants to work hard, who is doing the right things. Who will stick their chest out and say 'pick me'? I think there are a few players who aren't up for it.
NASSER: This is where the coach and the captain earn their extra money. Shane hasn't given any names away (and I don't blame him) but this is when you have to look the lads who are out of nick in the eye and ask them if they're up for it. I've been in the England dressing room in Australia and known that a couple of guys have gone under the weight of mental scarring and mental baggage.
BUMBLE: Andy Flower will have had sleepless nights knowing he's got to come up with something for Perth, where notoriously England do not play well. I've been in this position before. When you are 2-0 down you look at who you've got and you want to play 12! What he has to do is support his players. That's absolutely imperative.
DAVID: It's always easy to say 'right, let's just change things around' but seldom does it work. I've been England captain at times where we've been forced into changes when looking back at it, it was foolish to do so. If you keep changing too many things you lose all cohesion. The one big question you've always got to ask yourself is 'if I bring someone in, is that going to improve the team?'
STRAUSS: In truth the two sides aren't that far apart. If you look at the two team lists you wouldn't say that Australia are a far better side than England but England have played poorly and Australia have played well - that's why we've seen these massive margins of victory for Australia. England need to turn up in Perth and Cook needs to lead the way and we need a really meaningful contribution from Kevin Pietersen. Fifties aren't good enough. Give the bowlers something to bowl at.
Where else can England improve?
BEEFY: England need pace but the bowlers look tired. You've got to have something that changes it up. Steve Finn might do that. At the moment the bowlers are all too much of a muchness. Stuart Broad gets the bounce because he's the taller man. Australia have gone after Graeme Swann. I thought Monty Panesar bowled better than Swann in this game. England have to believe in themselves, go out there and support each other. The fielding must improve.
ANDREW: When Australia were in turmoil in the summer there was a different XI for each Test. That's not the way out of this for England. You've got to look at Perth and the conditions there. I would like to see one of the big lads who can bowl a bit quicker come into the side - Steven Finn or maybe Boyd Rankin, if Finn is out of nick. Otherwise you've got to stick with the same batting line-up.
BUMBLE: There's a question mark over which spinner to play because both have played in Adelaide. Panesar's figures weren't flash and, for me, it's a no-brainer - I would always play Swann on the basis that he'll get a little bit of drift and bounce at Perth, which brings first slip into play. But what Swann or Panesar want is for the batters to get some runs!
Australia must be looking forward to going to Perth...
SHANE: All of the hard work Australia have put in is paying off. The way Australia caught in this match, the way they fielded and the way they batted to earn a 400-run lead on a flat pitch was great. At the moment Australia are a long way ahead. They play very, very well in Perth. It's hard for the opposition teams there so England need to do something special.
BEEFY: Nasser loves Perth because it's a great ground for one of his favourite shots - the leave! You leave on length. The mistake a lot of teams make when they first go to Perth is they bowl too short rather than length because with that length you get bounce and carry, so you are looking for edges. It's a fantastic place to cricket. When the West Indies were at their peak, they only ever played in Perth once because the Aussies didn't like it up them either.
NASSER: You are going to need a bit of ticker to face Mitchell Johnson on his home ground, the WACA, bowling down [the Fremantle] Doctor. The last time England went there it wasn't so much about the pace of Johnson, it was the swing. That breeze blew in absolutely perfectly for him and he got the ball hooping. If he bowls like he is and he gets it swinging, he is going to be a handful. But this isn't the time for knee-jerk decisions on selection.
ANDREW: Johnson has been very hostile and threatening but he hasn't got out that many of the England top-order that often. Cook looked a bit suspect in this Test but otherwise they've played him ok. Where he's been really threatening is against the middle and lower order so the top-order has to make sure that by the time that happens, we've got 350 on the board and he's bowled 25 overs.
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of the third Test begins at 2am on Friday morning.
David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss assess England's turmoil and Perth options on the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast. Download it here or listen via Soundcloud...