Whitewash in Australia's sights as England face unenviable task


Australia reclaimed the Ashes on Monday, completing an innings-and-41-run victory over England in Perth to open up an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

For the third match in succession, England were left to rue an inability to capitalise on a period when they looked to have seized the initiative.

With the destination of the urn now decided, our writers from Australia and England offer their thoughts.


Dejan Kalinic with the view from Australia:

Whitewash, anyone?

Australia deservedly won the Ashes on Monday, completing an emphatic triumph at the WACA.

There has seemed to be a consistent theme throughout the series, with England coughing up opportunities.

Joe Root again won the toss in the third Test and made the right decision this time in batting first, only for his side to then slump from a position of strength at 368-4 to 403 all out.

The lower-order collapses have granted Australia momentum and Steve Smith's men again capitalised, largely thanks to the captain.

Smith made a superb 239 and England appear to have few answers against the star right-hander, who has 426 runs at an average of 142 this series.

Additionally, Australia's selectors continue to be rewarded. Mitchell Marsh came in for Peter Handscomb, making 181 and putting on a 301-run partnership with Smith.

And while it seems the hosts' bowlers are yet to truly hit top form, they once more took 20 English wickets.

There was none of the turn Nathan Lyon found in Brisbane and Adelaide, but Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc stepped up.

A deteriorating wicket assisted in a big way, yet it was England's failure to push on from their good start in the first innings that proved most costly.

The tourists had an opportunity to take the game away from Australia, only to let it slip away.

Adelaide was the Test for England to win, but once they failed to do that, the series was over. Now, the whitewash is on.


Christopher Devine with the view from England:

England have now lost eight successive Tests in Australia and it is increasingly hard to see that streak ending in Melbourne or Sydney as the hosts go in search of another clean sweep.

What is more, things could well get much worse for Joe Root's side in the matches that remain.

Root highlighted the fact England have not been "completely outplayed" in any of the three Tests, while praising the effort and commitment of his side in a losing cause.

In Brisbane, England were fiercely competitive for three days; a fine fightback threatened to turn the Adelaide Test in their favour and their early progress in Perth was hugely encouraging.

Yet with the Ashes now relinquished, Root undoubtedly faces a battle to prevent confidence levels from plummeting.

Serious questions are already being asked about the futures of Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad, while Moeen Ali and Root himself are other senior players who have so far failed to shine.

While all four of those individuals have the talent and class to answer their critics in the Boxing Day Test, the lack of pace in England's attack is a problem that appears unlikely to be solved any time soon, regardless of any changes that are made for the MCG.

Although they trail 3-0, England have been able to take positives from each Test so far. With key players out of form and little experience in reserve, the worry has to be that a couple of truly one-sided contests could now follow.