Doom, gloom and despair surrounding the English cricket team this summer has reached its lowest ebb with those back home waking to scathing headlines and more calls for change.
Alastair Cook’s men were likened to a pub team in the wake of the 281-run loss at the SCG, completed in woefully submissive fashion and arguably England’s worst failure of only the third 5-0 Ashes whitewash in history.
The performance was met with predictable dismay by past England players and pundits in the UK media, with some calling it the nation’s biggest sporting humiliation.
“For its scale, speed and brutality, this was the most spectacular implosion in the modern history of English sport,” said the UK’s Daily Telegraph.
Ian Botham, the man who predicted England would enjoy a 5-0 series victory, lashed the team’s “spineless” display.
“Watching England throughout this series has been little short of torture,” he wrote in The Daily Mirror.
Michael Vaughan termed it “pathetic” and accused the team of throwing in the towel while David Lloyd said England were “like a pub team” after tea on the final day.
Geoffrey Boycott called it “one of the most depressing and humiliating days for English cricket”.
“This has been the worst defeat, because it’s happened in three days. We just collapsed. We almost gave up,” wrote Boycott in his Daily Telegraph column.
Boycott said the fact Australia had a good, not great, team made it even more humiliating.
“The last whitewash was achieved by a team containing Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist. They had three once-in-a-lifetime players and there was no shame in losing 5-0 to them,” he said.
“But we should be ashamed and embarrassed to lose so abjectly to this lot.”
Former captain Vaughan accepted the result was on the cards when the final Test started on Friday, but was shocked by the manner of the defeat.
“It was always going to happen but there’s a way to lose,” Vaughan told the BBC.
“I have never seen an England team throw in the towel, but they did this afternoon.
“Andy Flower has not evolved this team as he should have done.
“Things have to change in personnel and things have to change in terms of how they play their cricket.”T
Flower and Cook did receive some support in the media.
Former Test allrounder Paul Collingwood said: “I still think Cooky’s the man for the job. I’m sure this has hurt a lot but you’ve got to move on and have that determination to put things right for the future.
“What Andy Flower has done for English cricket has been incredible. He’s a real leader and certainly the man I would have at the top to take England forward.”
Former captain Nasser Hussain labelled the series an “unmitigated disaster” for England and Cook but also threw his support behind the besieged skipper.
“He has to get better as a leader and come back stronger,” Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail.