In case you somehow missed it, England just lost the Ashes 5-0 for the second time in recent memory. What makes things worse, is that none of the Tests were even close. With the series now over, it's the time to consider what went wrong.

Perhaps the biggest area of weakness was in the batting order. Experienced and/or well thought of players like Cook, Bell, Prior and Root completely failed to make meaningful scores.

Forget about talk of 'Daddy Hundreds' of 150+ runs the only century England scored was from all-rounder Ben Stokes. The result of this was that as a team England only made it past 300 runs twice in the whole series.

How did this happen?

The obvious answer is that the Australian pace attack was simply to much for England to handle. Mitchell Johnson in particular skittled England out. Whilst not incorrect this is overly simplistic.

Johnson's most devastating wickets were the ones he took of the tailenders, all-rounders and wicket-keepers. In recent years when the top order has evaporated England have made passable totals by the tail waging. Johnson completely stopped this from happening.

This explains the teams inability to get over 300 consistently but it still doesn't explain why the top-order was so poor. Whilst Johnson's pace and bounce played a role the bigger issue was England's top order batsmen inability to rotate the strike.

England collapsed for low totals batsmen still batted for long amounts of time. Carberry dug in hitting 12 off 81 balls. Pietersen took an uncharacteristic 59 balls to make 19. Instead England were strangled by parsimonious Australian bowling.

Out of the Australian attack on Lyon went for more than three runs an over on average and even he only went for 3.12. By contrast none of England's bowlers got under three. Harris, Siddle and Watson bowled tight lines with few bad balls.

England were focused only on hitting boundaries and so when no bad balls came pressure built up and they tried to hit good balls for four and six and got out. Had they been able to rotate the strike things might have been different.

England's failure to rotate the strike was due to all the batsmen having a T20 one day mindset of boundaries being king. This attitude can only have come from the ethos that the senior players and coaches created behind the scene.

With the talk now being of moving on and creating a new style of cricket to succeed England must keep in mind that a simple failure to rotate the strike was a key component of their downfall. They treated a Test series like a T20 or ODI game and it cost them dearly.

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Topics:
#Cricket
#England cricket
#Australia cricket
#The Ashes