Cow Corner

View From Down Under: England have lost their dignity

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Another day, another miserable England performance - and yet more reason for England fans not to look at this morning's Australian papers.

While the initial disbelieving euphoria, often bordering on gloating, of whipping the Poms so convincingly appears to have worn off - England collapses are, in would seem, de rigour these days - the views on offer today still make for uneasy reading.

In Sydney's Daily Telegraph, Richard Hinds sticks the boot into England captain Alastair Cook, whose performance the writer believes told its own tale, and was symbolic of England's shambolic tour.

Even before his dismal departure after just the second ball of the day, it was obvious Alastair Cook wanted to leave. The country that is, not the dipping Ryan Harris in-swinger that trapped him hopelessly in front of his stumps.

Amid the customary clatter of wickets, the sight of Cook - bat raised forlornly in a pose of abject surrender - was symbolic of his team's plight. England have not just lost the will to fight, they have lost their dignity.

The noble exceptions are the handful conscripted rookies who, like schoolboys handed the last of the guns and grenades and forced to take the place of the fallen near the end of a long lost war, at least showed spirit.

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Yet it is not just stinging words that are likely to hurt this morning - Malcolm Knox in the Sydney Morning Herald leaves a striking image to do the job instead, one that he believes encapsulates England's tour of Australia.

What will be the image that captures this summer of wonders? A blue helmet whiplashing to dodge a Mitchell Johnson fireball? Brad Haddin's edgeless blade slapping another drive over mid-off? The arms of Michael Clarke in the quarter-to-three position, arranging fielders into blind spots that will, within an over, conjure a catch?

For me, the story is told by the stumps left behind by Ben Stokes after his sterling 47 at the SCG. Stokes has raised his bat to the 101st ball he faced, bowled by Peter Siddle. The off bail has been excised, as if by keyhole surgery. The wicket is otherwise barely disturbed: a still life of joy and misery.

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In Melbourne's The Age newspaper, chief cricket writer Chloe Saltau writes that England slumped to a "new low" with their performance at the SCG as a whitewash beckons.

The sustained excellence of Australia's pace juggernaut collided with the carelessness of England's batting with spectacular results to carry the locals closer to the third whitewash in Ashes history.

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And Malcolm Conn in the Daily Telegraph writes:

Australia is marching towards the most complete annihilation of England in Ashes history.

Never before has Australia taken all 100 England wickets but at some stage today or tomorrow that is likely to be completed as part of a 5-0 rout.

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Finally, a great quote from Brett Lee, in response to those critcising him for pelting Piers Morgan with fast, bodyline bowling in the nets - an exercise that left for former newspaper editor with a broken rib - following a bit of Twitter 'banter' between the pair.

It's gone worldwide but it wasn't about me maiming someone at all - I don't aim to hurt people. It was about educating people what it's about to face fast bowling and [it was] also Piers backing up his comments.

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