Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels England are “past their peak” and must decide whether it is time to drop their struggling stars.
Ponting believes England could well be facing a second whitewash in the space of three Ashes tours, as they sit 3-0 down with two Tests to play.
Conspicuous in those defeats have been some under-par performances from senior players including Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen.
And Ponting told the Daily Mail: "England are a team past their peak, while the Australians are only going to get better.
"We saw it in the first Ashes series, when Kevin Pietersen only really played one significant innings, and Alastair Cook and Matt Prior struggled with the bat. Those trends have continued out here.
"I do think it's hard to be dominant for a long time - unless your team contains several all-time legends.
"England have been a good side for a while, and some of their players have excellent records. But at some point, that was going to come to a halt.
"England now have to take a look at their senior players and decide how many years they have left in them. If they think they can still get two years out of them, then they have to nurture them through that period.
"If not, they should cut them adrift and give the new guys a go. The question is, is there anyone coming through right now?"
As for the remainder of this series, Ponting said: "There's a lot of cricket still to play, but I know the guys will be hungry for 5-0. And it's going to take a huge effort from the English to stop them."