Ashes 2013-14 match report: Alastair Cook future in jeopardy after another woeful display sees England lose to Australia by 218 runs to go down 2-0

Australia v England, Second Test, Adelaide Oval, fifth day

Adelaide

Alastair Cook’s future as the England captain is in deep jeopardy after two heavy defeats in the Ashes series. Once he could do little wrong, but Cook is now the struggling leader of an embattled team who are confronting a sporting disaster.

Many observers, including the former England captain, Michael Vaughan, are suggesting that they could lose 5-0 to Australia. The tourists went down by 218 runs here following their 381-run reversal in the first Test. Cook’s personal contribution with the bat was four runs.

“I need to score more runs, we all do,” said Cook. “But there are only so many times you can tell the lads to do it, and if you’re not doing it, it makes it harder. I’m there at the top of the order as a batter, and in the last two games I haven’t been scoring enough runs. I need to go and change that.”

Cook was dismissed in both innings by England’s nemesis, Mitchell Johnson, bowled by a sizzling, swinging delivery in the first innings and then misguidedly hooking the bowler’s third ball in the second down long leg’s throat. Since the start of the home series against Australia in the summer, Cook has made 359 runs at an average of 25.64.

When he first assumed the captaincy, it seemed that the position enhanced his scoring credentials rather than diminished them. He made hundreds in his first five matches when captain of the team and in seven of the first 11.

 

THE ASHES PODCAST: Stephen Brenkley and Tom Collomosse discuss the days play. Listen below…

 

It is ironical that his tactical leadership of the team has improved vastly and is attracting plaudits from unexpected quarters. But it is not field placings, bowling changes and Churchillian speeches that ultimately count. It is results. The chances are that he will survive because he still has the loyalty of his team but the intensity of an Ashes series invariably heightens emotions and the quest for culpability.

There is also the issue of England’s discipline. It is not entirely their fault but they are caught up in a sledging war which they are losing. The match referee, Jeff Crowe, decided not to pursue charges against the England debutant Ben Stokes and Johnson for making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact after they had collided on the fourth day.

The players both pleaded not guilty and Crowe cleared them of the charges after a hearing.

“I am satisfied in respect of both players that their physical contact was not deliberate,” he said. “Both players, however, could have done more to avoid each other and they have been so counselled.”

It has frequently been an unedifying spectacle and it will be no different in Perth where the third Test starts on Friday. The magnitude of the losses has cast a huge shadow on the departures from their roles of Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, and Geoff Miller, the national selector. They have frequently expressed their pride in the systems they have put in place.

Cook added: “Self-belief is certainly an issue you need to make sure you look after when you’ve lost heavily in two games. If we don’t believe it, then no one else is going to believe it. That’s the simple deal. We’ve got to look deep into our souls, deep into our hearts, and turn it round.”

He has not given up all hope of retaining the Ashes urn that England have claimed three times since 2009. But history is against him. Only Australia, once in 1936-37, have come from two behind to win. England now need a minimum of a draw and two victories.

“It’s certainly not impossible,” Cook said. “A lot of people who will be sitting in this room, and outside, will probably give us no chance. But if we don’t believe that in our dressing room, if we believe the urn has gone, then it might as well have gone.

“Obviously 2-0 is not a great situation to be in. But if you look at a football game, the next goal can change it very quickly.

“It’s going to take a monumental effort from us to do it. But we’re the only guys who can turn it round.” If they do not England may have to look for other guys.

Read more:

Ashes 2013-14 comment: England need to learn from Australia and master art of avoiding 'the creep'

Ashes 2013-14: Mitchell Johnson on a high for the home comforts of Perth  

Ashes 2013-14: Former captain Michael Vaughan fears whitewash repeat unless drastic changes are made  

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific