England's defeat at the MCG: what the papers said

It has been labelled "gutless", a "massacre" and likened to rubbish strewn on the pitch, but the barbs don't end there.

The English papers have turned the spotlight on the tourists after Australia coasted to a comfortable fourth successive Test victory by eight wickets at the MCG, taking the series to 4-0 to the hosts, with all signs pointing towards a series whitewash.

Coming under greatest scrutiny were the captaincy of 'nice guy' Alastair Cook and the tepid performance of the inconsistent top order, with the selectors taking a fair bit of shrapnel for good measure.

Here is what the papers had to say following England's embarrassing collapse.

Paul Newman, The Daily Mail

This was the worst yet. A wretched, gruesome numbing defeat that not only leaves an Australian Ashes whitewash very much on but also signals, more than the other three emphatic thrashings, the end of a great era for this England team.

Last time they were at the MCG three years ago they retained the Ashes and did the sprinkler dance in front of a delighted Barmy Army. This same England team have unravelled this time in a most brutal fashion here and the time has clearly come for them to start again.

Stephen Brenkley, The Independent

There could be no disguising the grotesque nature of the latest defeat. At one point early on the third afternoon, England led by 116 runs with all 10 second-innings wickets in hand on a slow pitch which batsmen found difficult to trust. A day later, having shed wickets and catches as casually as if they were swatting Melbourne flies, they had allowed Australia to chase down 231 to win.

Nasser Hussain, The Daily Mail

If people hadn’t watched the game but seen the scores, at least in three of the four innings, they would have thought it was an absolute minefield or we were playing in Mumbai and it was turning square. It wasn’t and we were not.

Nathan Lyon didn’t turn a ball in that horrible afternoon for England and to gift him five wickets was absolutely ridiculous. England have simply not managed to get the right balance between attack and defence.

Dean Wilson , The Daily Mirror

A game that England should have been confident of winning when they had a second innings lead of more than 100 and with all 10 wickets in hand became yet another massacre on Australian soil.

Simon Hughes, The Telegraph, London

Cook let the situation get out of control with some odd bowling changes. He seemed a lonely man. There was no one rushing forward with ideas or eager to bowl.

Cook is reluctant to castigate players for irresponsible shots. That job is left to members of the coaching staff. Cook is intrinsically too nice. To be successful with this lot he might need to get nasty.

Geoffrey Dean, The Times

England’s gutless collapse the day before was put in true perspective by Australia, who showed how well this drop-in pitch was still playing.

John Etheridge, The Sun

Rubbish was strewn all over the Melbourne Cricket Ground — and there were some burger wrappers flying around, too.

Jonathan Agnew, BBC

If you had put together a composite of the two teams at the end of the English summer you would not have found many Australians in it but if you were to do the same now you would probably only include Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen from the England ranks.

What would not be right for English cricket would be to prepare nice green pitches in order to ambush India and Sri Lanka with a Dukes ball in the summer and assume everything is all right again.


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