Ashes 2013-14: England a distant second - Graham Gooch
England have been "outskilled and outcompeted" by Australia in the Ashes, said batting coach Graham Gooch.
The tourists, trailing 4-0 in the series, were bowled out for 155 by Australia, who closed on 140-4 to lead by 311 runs after two days in Sydney.
"We have not been good enough. That's the brutal truth of it," said Gooch. "They have just outplayed us.
England's batting woes
- England's first innings scores in this Ashes series total 969, their second lowest aggregate in a five-Test series after the 951 against the West Indies in 1988.
- England average 20.8 runs per wicket in this Ashes, their seventh lowest average in a series of five Tests or more.
"We've been unable to get to grips with the Australian bowling attack. We've not been making the right decisions."
England are staring at a 5-0 series whitewash after another dismal batting performance. Captain Alastair Cook was trapped lbw shouldering arms to the second ball of the day as they crumbled to 23-5 before the tourists recovered slightly to avoid the follow-on in reply to Australia's 326 all out.
Gooch, England's all-time leading run-scorer with 8,900 in 118 Tests, said the collapse was all too familiar.
"There were one or two decent balls and one or two poor decisions but that is the way it has gone all through the series," he said.
"We have made too many basic errors. Generally, good players get out lbw, caught behind or caught at slip. But in the games before this one, we made far too many errors, getting caught in the ring, caught at mid-on or caught on the hook, which has cost us dear.
"We've got one hundred in the series and that is not going to win you anything. I can't fault the players for the way they prepare and practise, but we have not been able to implement the plans.
"One of the things that has been crucial is that we've not been able to put some pressure on the Australian bowling attack.
"Against good bowlers if you just let them dominate it's very difficult. You have to take it to them a bit. We've not been able to do that at all."
Gooch, who has no plans to quit, accepts several positions may in jeopardy after such a woeful series.
"If things don't improve then everyone's position is going to be under scrutiny," he said. "That goes for players. If you don't perform, ultimately you get left out.
"Everyone here would not like to leave under these circumstances... and the debris of this tour.
"I can't speak for everyone but I'd be surprised if everyone didn't want to put things right."
Test Match Special Analysis
"England got off to a terrible start when Alastair Cook was out playing no shot to the second ball of the day and, on this occasion, there wasn't the excuse of having to captain a beleaguered side in the field for two days. He could, for once, bat on a good night's sleep."
After Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen all fell for single figures on the second morning in Sydney, England relied on debutant Gary Ballance (18), Ben Stokes (47) and Stuart Broad (30) to get them past the follow-on mark of 127.
According to former captain Michael Vaughan, the freedom with which Stokes, 22, has played with bat and ball should point the way forward for England and their coaching staff as they look to the future beyond the Ashes.
"Stokes instinctively reacts to the moment rather than being told what's going to happen by a computer or someone else," said Vaughan on Test Match Special.
"You have to go out onto that stage and release your talent. When players are making their debut, or in their first, fifth or 10th game, they are not going to play like experienced players.
"They will make mistakes but don't try to tell them everything. Let them make a mistake and then hopefully they will learn from it. If they keep making the same mistakes, you have a problem, but let people make mistakes. It's the nature of life."
Test Match Special Analysis
"It was a very depressing day, and it started with the captain - he padded up playing no shot. It was a total misjudgement.
"England were never in the contest from the first half-hour, when Australia just blew them away. It was mayhem.
"I think Australia will try and get another 120 in the morning and then stick England in after lunch."
England's immediate concern is trying to fight their way out of another hole over the remaining three days to avoid a series whitewash. Gooch admitted it will be a very tall order.
"We can't just give up, we've just got to keep fighting," he said. "It's going to be a hard match but this is not the flattest of pitches.
"Having seen the pitch yesterday to me it looked like 250 would be a good score. But we were 23-5 and it's very difficult to come back from there."
Australia fast bowler Ryan Harris said the hosts were not starting to celebrate just yet.
"It's obviously not a done thing yet, we've got to make sure we bat well in the morning and get some more and bowl like we did today to bowl them out again," said Harris, who took 3-36 in England's first innings.
"I think it's just the pressure we've put on the whole series, we haven't allowed them to play the way they want."