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Ian Botham
Cricket Expert and Columnist

Ashes 2013/14: Australia's whitewash of spineless England is depressing

If this series had been a boxing match it would have been stopped weeks ago...

Ruthless Australia finished off spineless England with embarrassing ease, says Sir Ian Botham.

Cook: I can turn England around

Michael Clarke's side completed a 5-0 Ashes whitewash with a thumping 281-run victory inside three days in Sydney as the tourists bettered their disastrous first-innings of 155 by just 11 runs as they were bowled out in 31.4 overs.

Only three batsmen - Michael Carberry (43), Ben Stokes (32) and Stuart Broad (42) - made double figures as man-of-the-match Ryan Harris finished with 5-25 and man-of-the-series Mitchell Johnson bagged 3-40 to finish with 37 scalps at 13.97 overall.

Earlier in the day, Chris Rogers (119) had completed a century to help Australia set a victory target of 448 by scoring 276 in their second innings - a target Botham said England never looked like challenging.

"I'm pretty depressed and embarrassed - I use that word, embarrassed, and I mean it," he said. "I feel sorry for the fans because they haven't had any value.

"The juggernaut started up in Brisbane where they got bullied and they've been hammered throughout the series and it has been pretty weak, to be honest.

"I am not allowed to use the words that are flashing through my head at the moment. I just think it was spineless.

What next for England?

"Mitchell Johnson is one bloke bowling at 90mph and he just seemed to ruffle everyone up. All of the other bowlers backed him up - Ryan Harris has been magnificent, Peter Siddle has been a workhorse and Nathan Lyon has picked up wickets.

"England have been steamrollered. If it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped weeks ago.

"They had their chances in the first innings but Brad Haddin has been such a driving force in that side. He's vice-captain, so he sets an example. Every time they've been in trouble whether it's 132-6 or 97-5 here, he's turned up and he's got tough runs at the right time, which has given the bowlers a margin to work with.

"Australia have been brilliant and they've never let England back in once they've got England down. There was no letting them back up off the floor. They put the foot down on the throat and they held it there until they win. They are ruthless."

No excuse

Flower's Ashes assessment

Botham said things have unravelled so quickly for England - who won the previous Ashes series 3-0 last summer - because the senior players had not stood up, while the lower-middle order had not been able to cope with Johnson's pace.

In 2010-11 Alastair Cook scored 766 runs but this time around he, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell have only managed a combined nine runs more and haven't scored a century between them, while the tail has frequently failed to dig the side out of trouble.

"It's the fear-factor of Mitchell Johnson," said Botham. "From five wickets down you expect to see the late middle-order and the tail contributing with the bat.

"It wasn't happening and it hasn't happened throughout the series. They've been blown away, they've been startled rabbits, they've been hopping about, fending it off.

Ashes 5th Test - Presentations

"They've had a wake-up call. They probably haven't faced someone bowling at 90mph for quite some time - that's the way it appeared, anyway. That's the scary part for me.

"As a professional sportsman at this level playing on the surfaces they play on, which have been good pitches, there is no excuse.

"I think England have got to grasp this now and say 'ok, we've got some really hard thinking to do'.

"I'm not talking about a mass cull but they've got to start looking at some of these younger players. Ben Stokes came into the side and was a breath of fresh air. There has got to be a few more of those out there.

"You can't keep turning out the same team if it doesn't fire. You expect a response from the senior players and it hasn't come in this series."

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Stick with us for plenty more reaction throughout the day before The Ashes Verdict returns at 9pm on Sky Sports 2.