After the first two tests I thought I had seen everything. England were demolished in the first test after they had been unable to bat or bowl. Then in Adelaide they provided us with hope - a real conviction that we could play the Aussies, but alas the team were not up to it and we ended up losing. Could it have been the first time a team declared on 500 and gone on to lose?
Seeing the team is something of pure depression - you look at the Aussies you see a solid batting line up that reaches all the way to Warne, and a selection of consistent and World-class bowlers. And at the same time in my opinion they have the best wicket-keeper in the world in Adam Gilchrist. England however, resemble a village team that has just lost the key to pavillion - utterly clueless. Our openers have been distinctly poor with the loss of Tresco (did he jump ship????) and our middle order has been eratic to say the least, with KP and Collingwood offering a decent return in runs. In reference to wicket-keeping my heart goes out to Jones - yes he is a good wicky but Read is better and I think he knows this, and yet he is picked for his batting quality. This puts immense pressure on a player who at his position should bat, but not exceptionally because the full-time batsmen should provide the runs. Although he is unlucky I still think he should be dropped in favour of Chris Read.
And then we move on to the captiancy...oh dear, oh dear. Flintoff is a match-winner certaintly but the pressure has got to him. His friendly attitude has meant that team decisions have been influenced by those around him (namingly Giles e.t.c). This has meant that the team has not been doing whats best for the team.
So finally Monty offered us a ray of hope but I believe that the ashes have been long gone. When the England team return home, there will have to be questions asked of Fletcher and his future alongside that of the England players themselves.