It was dismal viewing on the final night: Atherton on England’s awful ending in the Ashes

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Former England captain Michael Atherton said it was ‘dismal’ to see the Test side on the final night of the Ashes in Hobart. England’s 4-0 Ashes drubbing which was confirmed after they lost 10 wickets for just 56 runs to lose the day-night Test by 146 runs at the Bellerive Oval on Sunday.

“It was dismal viewing on the final night. It was sad to see an end like that. I have been involved in and seen many England defeats but the manner of that defeat was abject and really sad. There have been a number of collapses on this tour but that was probably the worst,” wrote Atherton for Sky Sports on Monday.

“The way things ended was a damning reflection on the coaching and managerial positions around the team. Players who have respect for captains and coaches don’t go down like that,” added Atherton, who led England in 54 Tests.

Reflecting on the entire tour, Atherton remarked people in England’s set-up cannot pretend that everything is all good after the 4-0 mauling. “It was the tour from hell for England and there cannot be no change. You have to separate what are deep-seated systemic problems, and there may be changes there, from mistakes made on tour, which people have to take responsibility for.”

“I don’t think you can come away from a tour like this and say, ‘it’s all going to be fine, we will carry on with the same people’. I would find it inconceivable for there not to be any change.”

Atherton felt England consistently failing in the Ashes made Australia look a better side than they are. “England made Australia look a better side than they are. With Cameron Green adding a fourth seamer who bowls at 140kmph-plus and doesn’t bowl a bad ball, that is a top-class and relentless attack. But Australia do have some weaknesses in the batting and En’land didn’t really exploit them.”

The 53-year-old slammed England’s bowling for doing well on the Australia soil, where the conditions were tailor-made for them.

“I have not come to an Ashes series before and seen so much movement off the pitch but in the past England have prayed for those conditions. In 2017/18 it was ‘we can’t take 20 wickets on these pitches, we need help off the surface’. They had four pitches in this series which for English seam bowlers were manna from heaven but that put pressure on the batting, which was not good enough.”

Atherton signed off by saying that despite all the failures, he does hope that England could do well in an Ashes in Australia. “Moving forward, I do have hope because I have seen England win in Australia in 2010/11. English cricket has always produced good players and I hope it will always produce good players.”

“Things do turn but you need to grasp the nettle as they don’t turn by themselves. A defeat like this, like when England lost at home to New Zealand in 1999, gives you an appetite to turn things around. Hopefully some good comes out of this.”

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