Sydney: England batting coach Graham Gooch gave a grim assessment of England's performance this Ashes series after yet another top order collapse on the second day of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground brought the tourists to the brink of a 5-0 series whitewash.
England slumped to 23 for 5 in their first innings Saturday before being dismissed for 155 chasing Australia's 326. At stumps England trailed by 311 runs.
"Our players have not met the challenge with the bat obviously," said Gooch. "We've made too many errors in the batsmanship and not fought our way into positions and have not been able to release the stranglehold of the Australian pace attack in particular."
Gooch said the pressure had affected captain Alastair Cook, after the 102-Test veteran inexplicably did not offer a shot to a straight Ryan Harris ball to be trapped lbw for 7
"For any player your No. 1 job is to contribute to the side," Gooch said. "No captain is going to be happy with just being captain and not contributing. When things have gone the way they have and unfolded for us there is more pressure and you feel more responsible as the captain. I know that feeling because I've been there when we've won and I've been there when we've lost badly."
England's other star batsmen, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen are both averaging well below their career numbers this series and could only muster 5 runs between them here as Australia's pace attack applied relentless pressure.
"There are three immediate reasons why they have struggled and that is Harris, Johnson and Siddle have all bowled pretty well and Lyon has backed them up pretty well so Australia have been on their game and you have to give them credit," Gooch said. "You still expect players of that caliber with that record behind them to score that proportion of runs."
"We will all have to look at ourselves, they will have to look at themselves and how they can improve and we have to look at the messages and insights we give them," he said.