Sport

What a fine mess English cricket finds itself in. Yet for supporters of a certain age, the last two months in Australia have just been a return to normal service.

Alastair Cook pictured after England lost the Ashes
Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson confront each other on day four of the second Ashes Test

Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell points to Ben Stokes as the sole shining light

England look for the positives as the Ashes slip out of their grasp

England batsman Joe Root was given out despite appearing to make no contact with the ball

Ashes 2013-14: England 'bitterly disappointed' with Joe Root dismissal after umpire controversy returns to haunt series

Questioning of the Decision Review System dominated the summer Ashes Series and Root's controversial dismissal has seen the problem return once again

Australia batsman Steve Smith celebrates after reaching his century
Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin takes a catch to dismiss Joe Root

Ashes 2013/14: England’s Ashes shambles is uglier than ’06 whitewash

Cook’s reckless men who are a fading force are being outplayed by average side

Signs of the times: Protesters against Mike Gatting’s rebel tour in 1990 were later met with teargas and rubber bullets

The Last Word: ‘Look son, baboons’ – the way it was before Nelson Mandela

Sport helped change things in South Africa even if it has not solved that society’s basic problems

Ashes 2013-14: England's batsmen have got 'no bottle' says Geoffrey Boycott

Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott has criticised the application of the national team's current batsmen after yet another devastating collapse against Australia.

England batsman Gary Ballance looks to be the favourite to replace the departed Jonathan Trott after hitting a half-century in the warm-up match against an Australian Chairman's XI

Ashes 2013-14: Gary Ballance puts his hand up to replace Jonathan Trott as half-century is shining light in yet another batting failure

England declare on 212-7 against a Chairman's XI which posed the top order more problems as they found runs hard to come by

Ben Stokes

Ashes 2013-14: Ben Stokes desperate to impress in Alice Springs

England are to play a two-day match starting at Traeger Park against a CA Chairman's XI on Friday

Ian Bell is the obvious candidate

Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell likeliest No 3 as England ring the changes following the departure of Jonathan Trott

The best player from the last series likely to be bumped up

The Australian players celebrate another wicket on their way to victory over England

Ashes 2013-14: England crushed as Australia take 1-0 series lead

Australia v England, First Test, , fourth day: Few crumbs of comfort for Cook’s shattered side as they look to turn round another Test series after a disastrous start

Mitchell Johnson has become Australia's spearhead

Ashes 2013-14: England terrorised by Mitchell Johnson as Alastair Cook's side collapse

England go from 82-2 to 136 all out as Australia turn up the pressure at the Gabba to lead by 224 runs

Kevin Pietersen of England during a nets session at Sydney Cricket Ground

Ashes 2013-14: England warm up for first real Test with a seven wicket win over Australia XI

Australia XI v England, tour match, SCG, fourth day

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