Tired, timid and trounced again: England's Ashes heroes fade fast

England 214 Australia 215-6

Where have all the Ashes heroes gone? Long time passing. Gone to seed every one. Long time ago. It is but two weeks since England won their great prize, the one they came for, but already it seems from another age.

The tourists lost their third consecutive match in the one-day series against Australia yesterday and for the third time were bowled out without using their allotted overs. Five of their first-choice team, all part of the Ashes triumph, were missing from the action, resting or injured, and almost to a man their other colleagues from the great campaign looked spent.

That England keep losing to an insubstantial Australian team is bad enough; that their strategy for the World Cup starting in 26 days seems to be in such a parlous state may be worse. They insist there is no post-Ashes malaise, but if that is so, the other possible explanations are frightening to contemplate. All lead to a similar conclusion – that England may not be accomplished enough in depth to have a real chance in the World Cup.

There is no reason as yet to panic and there probably is not time. When England won the Ashes at home in 2009 they lost the subsequent limited-overs series by 6-1, looking careworn, yet a few weeks later they reached the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with batting that was full of conviction.

At present they can hope only that the World Cup will have a similarly galvanising effect. But the batting, which during the Test series could barely do any wrong, can now do little right. They were dismissed yesterday for 214 and, although they gave themselves a partial chance when Australia were 100 for 5, it was a glimmer that soon faded. The line was reached with four wickets in hand and 24 balls to spare.

In none of the three matches of the Commonwealth Bank series have England made as many as they should have done and they have won the toss three times, twice batting first and once pursuing a modest target.

Australia bowled accurately yesterday and their fielding was as sharp as any time this winter, but that does not begin to excuse another insipid performance by England. The shot selection was again dire. If florists chose their wares as wisely as England are choosing their strokes their shops would be full of dead flowers.

England were without Tim Bresnan, whose torn calf muscle will force him to miss the rest of this series and may cast doubt on his World Cup place, Kevin Pietersen with a groin strain and Graeme Swann with a bruised knee. Jimmy Anderson, who will return on Wednesday in Adelaide, and Stuart Broad, with his long-term abdominal strain, were also out.

It all started to go awry from the off and the decision to bring back Matt Prior to open the batting, always a risk, is looking a dodgier experiment than trying to turn iron pyrites into gold. For the second match in a row he was out to the third ball and his decision to ask for a review of the umpire's verdict compounded his felony. Replays showed the ball hitting middle stump.

The fall of England's second wicket was lamentable, the sort of thing that tends to happen to sides who have left their self-belief tucked alongside the Gideon Bible in their hotel rooms. Jonathan Trott played a ball to the leg side and set off for a quick single which Andrew Strauss decided was not there. Strauss turned back for the non-striker's end, Trott kept on coming and, although Australia had missed the stumps at that end, they had time to ferry the ball to the striker's end where no batsman was in residence.

Trott stayed because he was the quicker to reach the crease. It looked as nonsensical as it sounds. There was reason to believe a reasonable total could be obtained but not with the likes of Ian Bell giving a soft return catch and Eoin Morgan slogging a long hop to midwicket. Paul Collingwood played one of the worst two-ball innings in history, inside-edging the first past stumps and completely missing the second to be bowled.

Throughout Trott stayed prosaically calm, maybe too calm, as if a ton of explosives would not force him to move more energetically. But he had a point. All around were losing their heads, there was no point in him jumping over the mountain edge as well.

He was there at the end on 84 not out from 119 balls, having hit three fours. He had not faced enough of the bowling, not struck enough boundaries, but any culpability was slender compared to that of his team-mates.

England made swift inroads into the Australian order – four of their top five went for single figures as Chris Tremlett and Ajmal Shahzad worked up a head of steam. But they were never seriously bothered after David Hussey came in and his innings of 68 from 89 balls was the third in successive matches for Australia of consummate judgement. With another World Cup looming, England look weary and confused. When will they ever learn?

Sydney scoreboard

Third one-day international, at the SCG: Australia beat England by four wickets

England won toss

ENGLAND

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

*A J Strauss run out 23 0 2 27 41

†M J Prior lbw b Lee 0 0 0 3 5

I J L Trott not out 84 0 3 119 215

I R Bell c & b Watson 10 0 1 16 22

E J G Morgan c Clarke b Hussey 30 0 2 41 48

P D Collingwood b Doherty 1 0 0 2 2

M H Yardy c & b Doherty 7 0 0 8 7

L J Wright c Haddin b Hastings 32 0 2 46 55

C R Woakes c Haddin b Lee 12 0 0 15 14

A Shahzad c White b Lee 4 0 0 8 8

C T Tremlett run out 1 0 0 4 7

Extras (lb3 w6 nb1) 10

Total (48 overs) 214

Fall 1-1, 2-38, 3-61, 4-118, 5-119, 6-130, 7-179, 8-199, 9-208.

Bowling B Lee 8-0-27-3, D E Bollinger 8-0-36-0, J W Hastings 10-0-51-1, S R Watson 6-0-17-1, S P D Smith 3-0-19-0, X J Doherty 10-0-37-2, D J Hussey 3-0-24-1.

AUSTRALIA

Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

S R Watson b Tremlett 9 0 2 7 6

†B J Haddin c Woakes b Collingwood 54 1 7 59 101

S E Marsh lbw b Shahzad 6 0 1 12 14

*M J Clarke c Yardy b Woakes 9 0 0 18 31

C L White lbw b Collingwood 7 0 0 23 31

D J Hussey not out 68 1 6 89 109

S P D Smith c Yardy b Tremlett 26 1 2 37 57

J W Hastings not out 18 0 1 31 40

Extras (lb7 w11) 18

Total (for 6, 46 overs) 215

Fall 1-10, 2-27, 3-59, 4-92, 5-100, 6-163.

Did not bat B Lee, X J Doherty, D E Bollinger.

Bowling A Shahzad 10-0-45-1, C T Tremlett 9-0-50-2, C R Woakes 7-0-31-1, L J Wright 2-0-12-0, M H Yardy 10-0-45-0, P D Collingwood 8-0-25-2.

Umpires G A Baxter (NZ) and P R Reiffel.

Australia lead seven-match series 3-0



* Remaining fixtures

Wednesday Fourth ODI (Adelaide)

Sun 30 Jan Fifth ODI (Brisbane)

Wed 2 Feb Sixth ODI (Sydney)

Sun 6 Feb Seventh ODI (Perth)

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal