Ashes: England's Ashes defeat cannot be brushed under carpet - Jonathan Agnew

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Pint-sized Ashes: Ill Root returns but can't stop defeat

Australia's 4-0 Ashes victory was a fair result, and well done to them, but those at the top of English cricket must ensure the team is better prepared for such challenges in the future.

I said exactly the same last winter after England had been beaten 4-0 in India - their batsmen suffering at the hands of the home side's spinners.

People shrugged their shoulders and some suggested that England's lack of two quality spinners didn't matter because they wouldn't be touring there again for years.

Similarly, England won't have to worry about Australian conditions for another four years now.

Lessons have to be learned. We simply cannot go on with a pattern where teams go away and get hammered and then sweep things under the carpet once they get back home and begin winning again in conditions that suit them.

It's not just England - most countries do it with their pitches, with the exception of Australia. Test cricket needs closer contests though because it's part of the interesting cycle of the calendar that teams must adapt to new conditions.

That also means drawing a line under this tit-for-tat, zero quality preparation that touring teams are given these days.

Hopefully now this has reached the depths whereby administrators realise they have to give teams proper practice and preparation.

Otherwise touring teams are going to keep get hammered, which is totally against the interests of Test cricket.

There's a pattern developing - there's no chance to restore confidence, no chance to restore form, no chance to get players who aren't playing in a Test match into any sort of condition or form and that has got to stop.

Touring teams must be given appropriate amounts of warm-up matches against opposition of a decent standard.

Following the limited-overs leg of their tour down under, England will travel to New Zealand for two Test matches in March.

I actually think England in New Zealand will be a very good contest because Kane Williamson's side have an excellent new-ball attack.

The conditions will be more to their liking but New Zealand won't be a pushover.

New Zealand's Neil Wagner celebrates a wicket
New Zealand's Neil Wagner is rated as the fourth best Test bowler in the world - one place ahead of Mitchell Starc

Problems for England to address

England's inability to turn fifties into hundreds was crucial in their defeat in Australia.

Australia scored nine hundreds to England's three and there were too many failures from their experienced players.

Joe Root didn't score a century in the series and Alastair Cook scored 132 runs in the eight innings either side of his albeit magnificent 244 not out in the fourth Test in Melbourne.

There was always a question about James Vince's selection - we talked about that before a ball was bowled.

While he looks pretty at times and played one or two nice innings, he's just not got the technique to cope with Test-class bowling around his off stump.

That, I'm afraid, was a gamble that didn't work.

We might see Dawid Malan move up to number three in New Zealand. That would make sense to me because he has potential and looks more suited to that role than anyone else we've seen in the past 12 months.

Similarly, there were positives in the debut of Craig Overton in Australia. He looks to be a good, decent professional.

Again, though, I think he is someone who will bowl well in England but lack penetration elsewhere.

We have talked a lot about the lack of pace in their bowling attack and that was evident all series.

England have got to encourage a system in which they produce fast bowlers. They have got to take bowlers with pace to countries like Australia.

You can't have 82-83mph bowlers rolling up there with a Kookaburra ball and expect to get decent players out. It's not going to happen.

Is Bayliss still the right man for England?

Trevor Bayliss with Joe Root at the MCG
England have lost 18 Tests under Trevor Bayliss, winning 15

It's easy to throw mud at coaches because we don't see - nor often understand - everything they do.

However, if ever there was a case for a coach doing his job it was when Jonny Bairstow went out without a nightwatchman in Sydney.

That was just a common sense decision at that particular time.

I'm not always a fan of the nightwatchman. I used to do it and hated the job and there were times when I thought it was unnecessary and just a batsman that was hiding.

However, there are times when it is essential for the team that you don't lose a frontline batsman and that was the case in Sydney in England's first innings when a new ball was taken.

Joe Root had just been dismissed in the penultimate over of the day, and it was an absolute bang-to-rights case of needing a nightwatchman.

The coach should have said 'sit down Jonny... Jimmy Anderson get out there and bat'. That should have been the end of it, there should be no argument.

That was a case where I thought the coach got it wrong.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Marc Higginson