Broken England head into One Day series after Ashes whitewash
An Australian whitewash of England in this Ashes series was completed in emphatic fashion at 4.25 pm local time in Sydney.
Ryan Harris – one of several stars of the five-match series for the hosts – had England newcomer Boyd Rankin caught by captain Michael Clarke to seal a 281 win in less than three days.
The 5-0 scoreline, unconsidered at 66/1 before the first ball was bowled on Australian soil, is an accurate reflection of how the home side have dominated since day one of the First Test at Brisbane.
Australia won the Fifth Test by 281 runs
Alongside the excellent Harris was Peter Siddle, whose bowling has been transformed by extensive work from bowling coach Craig McDermott.
The former Aussie quick, who took 291 Test wickets himself, encouraged Siddle to completely change the length of his bowling, and, with the support of Clarke, the move has paid dividends; the 29-year-old has taken 16 wickets in this series at an average of 24.12.
But the real star has been Mitchell Johnson.
It wasn’t long ago that the “Barmy Army” cheered when he came on to bowl.
Not any more.
Fitter than ever – and just as fiery – the left-arm quick has demolished England in this series, taking 37 wickets at an average of 13.97, including 7 for 40 at Adelaide.
Mitchell Johnson took 37 wickets in this Ashes series
There is no doubt that England’s bowlers have underperformed, although Stuart Broad must be exempt from that list having taken 21 scalps at less than 28 runs apiece.
But Jimmy Anderson, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have all disappointed, so much so that Swann announced his own retirement after the third test; if you can’t motivate yourself for the Ashes, then what hope is there?
Credit goes to debutante Ben Stokes who only scored 15 runs less than top-scorer Kevin Pietersen, despite playing one match less, as well as Michael Carberry who showed battling qualities, albeit in low scores.
However Ian Bell, Joe Root and Alastair Cook have all failed to show the spirit needed to blunt a rampant Aussie side.
Pietersen has been thoroughly worked out by Clarke and co, gifting his wicket to the opposition with poor shot after poor shot.
This should have been the time for the Surrey man to write his name into the record books like Ian Botham 21 years ago; he didn’t.
Ben Stokes was the only England batsman to average over 30 runs
This was the first real low-point in Cook’s fledgling captaincy, and is not one that he will take lightly.
“I’m desperate to try to turn it round,” Cook said. “I feel I’m the right man for the job.”
England, with Cook firmly at the helm, now head into the One Day series with their hosts, with the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand (for which they are 6/1) in the distance.
Australia have the stronger team, better morale, a vocal crowd and cartloads of momentum.
However what looks like a formality may not be the case – perversely, this five game series is often won by the team who have lost in the Ashes.