Analysts begin to look back to where it all went wrong for the Three Lions.
Former England skipper David Gower said the current side’s 4-0 series deficit was always on the cards and that the “perfect storm” for a whitewash was now a reality.
Speaking after watching his countrymen surrender meekly for the fourth time in the series, this time losing by eight wickets at the MCG, Gower, said Alastair Cook’s side never got over the first two days at the Gabba.
Down 132-6 and on the brink of being a step behind for the start of the series, Australia soon found themselves 224 runs up with 10 second-innings wickets in hand by stumps on day two in what was the first instance the England side failed to full captalise on.
“The end of the first day and again on the second day, events like that breed confidence,” said Gower, who said England’s repeated batting collapses had been costly and “inexplicable”.
“The moment you believe that what you’ve been talking about is actually going to happen, that’s the moment you gain the ability to make it happen more often.
“Australia suddenly believed it could win – and that has made all the difference.”
Gower denied there has been a lack of fight from the current side, but said everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong, after many had tipped the then holders of the Urn to retain it comfortably after winning 3-0 at home earlier in the year.
“There’s been a collective loss of confidence. There are people you’d expect to bat well in these conditions just haven’t made the runs you’d expect, starting with Alastair Cook … and even those who have been in good touch.
“For instance, Ian Bell, when he’s made runs has looked in really good touch and played absolutely beautifully; Kevin Pietersen has looked as though he’s been in good form – he’s done one or two stupid things, admittedly – but by and large been in good form, too.
“Then you suddenly look down these scorecards and instead of one or two of them getting 150 now and again to keep the contest even, we’re talking half-centuries at best.
“And we all know that if you don’t put runs on the board, at any level of cricket, you’re likely to come second.”
Gower said the current side seem to lack the back-ups plans needed to turn to when their primary goals did not pay dividends.
“To come up with a rationale as to why it’s impossible to stop (Austraila’s) momentum is not necessarily that easy.
“But things like the collapses … ever since that first Test match, we’ve had four or five really bad collapses.
“That happens once in a blue moon normally, so it is completely bizarre and I don’t know how you explain it.
“Once your confidence diminishes, you’re in trouble.
“If you have one bad day, or even a bad session, you can say OK, that’s a bad one, and then you get back to normal.
“When you look back at the (northern) summer, when England had a bad session, they were pretty good at finding solutions.
“Here, they’ve run out of ideas, seemingly.”