Just as the Ashes originated, once again English cricket is laid to rest by Australia and many will be asking questions of where it all went wrong.

While the Ashes are all but over for England there are still two Tests of the tour to be played and they march on to Sydney where hopes will be on avoiding a series whitewash.

Change needed

England have been humbled this winter and many can argue that the writing has been on the wall for the tourists all year. Having lost the Ashes after just 12 days of cricket, it was a batting collapse of the highest order that was the final nail in the coffin at Melbourne.

Heading into Sydney the visitors stare down the mammoth task of saving face and recording their first Test victory over Australia in 14 attempts. The previous 13 fixtures between the sides have seen Australia successful on 12 occasions and England managing just one draw. A buoyant home side will be hard to overcome for Joe Root’s men in Sydney and there’s no doubt that careers will be on the line at the SCG. England will be without their coach [Chris Silverwood] for the duration, but there’s an argument to be made that this could be a blessing for the side. The decision making from senior management on this tour has been questionable at best and at worst outright baffling, selection has been a key issue throughout and paired with an inability to bat under Test conditions England have it all to do if they want to make their mark on the scoresheet.

Looking ahead to Sydney then, it’s unlikely we’ll see the major changes that occurred after Adelaide and before Melbourne. While cases can be made for more changes, unfortunately there just isn’t the talent pool for England to draw on, so it can be expected that Root will lead a fairly unchanged team from the front. Of course, Root’s form with the bat has been outstanding all year, and it probably registers as the only highlight from England so far, he has been boosted to lead the run charge for the tourists in their first innings from 6/4 to 15/8. However, if England are to pull off a shock result it will have to come from others around the captain who have not yet fired this series. To get a result at the SCG, England are 7/2 while the hosts sit in clear favouritism at 1/6.

Australia too good

The hosts are enjoying a purple patch at present and the results in the series so far are not by chance, this Australian side have a pool of world class talent at their disposal, including in the worlds number one ranked batsmen, Marnus Labuschagne. They also have a strength in depth that only truly great sides can afford, both of these markers paired with a preparedness not shown by England has won them the Ashes so early on in the series.

It can be expected that England will come out fighting in Sydney now careers are on the line, but of course it will be too little too late for some. Most fans by this point will be resigned to the probability of a series whitewash but if that can be avoided it will be enough to keep some hope for a future bounce back and hopefully English cricket can be revived.

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