Ashes 2013-14: ‘We let you all down,’ Alastair Cook tells England fans after whitewash

Ashes humiliation is complete as Australia romp to 5-0 series victory

It was 53 minutes after tea on day three in Sydney – 5.25am in London on Sunday morning – when the end finally came, with Australia completing a 5-0 whitewash of England that no one dreamt possible when the tour began two months ago.

What followed was the predictable anger and acrimony as the country woke up to one of its most humiliating Ashes defeats in 131 years. Captain Alastair Cook admitted the loss, by 281 runs with two days left to go, was indicative of a team that had hit “rock bottom”. “I’m sorry we’ve let you down,” he told supporters.

For the 11,000 England fans who had flown out to Australia, it marked an achingly familiar reversion to type. Indeed the Barmy Army earned their title from the team’s woeful performance in the 1994-5 Ashes series, when the Australian press concluded that anyone willing to support the team must be, well, barmy.

That sense appeared to be returning this weekend. James Ward, 33, from Wiggington, York, spent nearly £10,000 taking his father to Australia for the last two Tests. “By the time we walked through immigration, we realised we had already lost the series,” the financial consultant told The Independent. “I booked these tickets last June – but as an England fan you’re always deeply aware of England’s ability to lose biblically when the play Australia. It’s only recently that we’ve been able to get cocky. But this has been a tour in which the wheels have fallen off in every possible way.”

Tomorrow, the Australian team heads to Sydney Opera House for a victory event, while much of the Barmy Army will spend today on Bondi Beach drowning their sorrows before heading home.

Arnold Murthi, 25, a barman from Bristol, said he was “happy enough” with Cook’s apology. “The team was obviously hurting and it was difficult. England has got a lot of bad press and there’s a rebuilding job to do but everyone goes out to support them and will continue to do so.”

It was in August 2011 that this England team, under coach Andy Flower, rose to world number one. And they completed their third consecutive Ashes series victory with a 3-0 triumph over Australia just four months ago.

Administrators will now be watching nervously to see if the support and sponsors’ millions will evaporate. Tickets for this summer’s Tests, first against Sri Lanka and then against India, have been selling since last year so the 5-0 defeat may have little impact. But expect a very different England team to take the field against Sri Lanka on 12 June.

“This does feel like the end of an era of some description,” coach Andy Flower said. “It is a chance for some sort of renewal. It needs wise people making good decisions at the top to try and get those decisions right.”

A mood of stoicism in defeat was fast returning among fans. Josh Robinson tweeted: “I love being an England fan though. Never dull. Two Ashes whitewashes sandwich one of our best-ever eras. That’s pretty damn impressive.”

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition