Nasser Hussain: Australia have outplayed England
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes Australia got nothing more than they deserved after retaining the Ashes with a 185-run victory at Old Trafford.
The tourists bowled England out for 197 in the final hour of the last session to move 2-1 ahead with one Test to play.
Having slipped to nought for two on the fourth evening, England showed plenty of fighting spirit in Manchester.
But having lost by 251 runs in the series opener at Edgbaston and only staying in the series following Ben Stokes’ remarkable innings at Headingley last week, Hussain says Australia are worthy winners.
Hussain told Sky Sports: “There has been progress. You can’t fault the character and resilience of this England side. Other England sides would have just crumbled in a heap.
“They showed a lot of fighting character. But the problem is they often find themselves 10 for two, 20 for two.
“Against certain sides you can come back from that, but from nought for two last night against this Australian attack, you can’t come back from that.
“Let’s be honest, if England had gone to the Oval at 1-1, I think it would have been a travesty.
“Australia have outplayed England, with Ben Stokes at Headingley keeping them in the series with a remarkable innings.
“If they had gone to the Oval at 1-1, England could not have believed their luck. But they are not, they are 2-1 down.”
Steve Smith has lit up the Ashes after returning to Test cricket, scoring 671 runs at an average of 134.20.
Yet former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting thinks their bowling attack deserve just as much credit for their efforts.
Ponting said: “It was a good performance. They were the best team throughout the series, even before today. I think they should have had a bigger lead, not just on the back of Steve Smith.
“Everyone is talking about what impact he has had, but the whole bowling department has been absolutely outstanding. If you look at the difference in the bowling attacks in this game.
“(Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Nathan) Lyon, match that up with the England attack. There were more holes in that England attack than the Australia one. They were relentless in everything they did.”