Ian Botham said it wasn’t good enough.
Fellow ex-England skipper Andrew Strauss went further.
“I feel sick to my stomach,” Strauss said on Sky Sports 2.
“There’s not going to be much sympathy from the England supporters,” Strauss said after England suffered an eight-wicket defeat on Sunday in the fourth Test in Melbourne to go 4-0 down in the Ashes series.
“We’ve seen this great resurgence (in English cricket in recent years), and to see it in the state it’s in at the moment is hard to take. It’s all pretty depressing.”
As England head to Sydney in a bid to avoid defeat and stop Australia recording a 5-0 sweep, former star allrounder Botham was shaking his head at the tourists’ batting collapse of 179 all out in their second innings.
Leading by 51 on the first dig, England managed to set Australia a target of only 231 to win.
“Three wickets for one run at the top of the order yesterday, five wickets for six runs later on… It’s just not good enough,” Botham said on Sky Sports 2.
“The batsmen have come out and looked like they’re scared to play a shot.
“There’s no pressure put on the Australia bowlers. Nathan Lyon on a wicket that’s not turned – five for 50? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Just not good enough England…it’s embarrassing !!
— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham) December 29, 2013
Another former England skipper Michael Vaughan said on Twitter: “4 games and 4 hammerings against a Good but not Great Aussie team…”
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 29, 2013
England captain Alastair Cook, who played in Andrew Flintoff’s side which was crushed 5-0 Down Under in 2006-07, said this one was hurting more.
“Especially as I’m captain as well,” Cook told his post-match news conference.
“A lot of questions are always asked when you lose lots of wickets in clusters.
“You have all these meetings about building partnerships and you know the first 20 runs of a partnership are crucial but the bottom line is that the players aren’t performing out in the middle.
“The part of this game that makes it even more frustrating is that we got ourselves into a good place to put some pressure on Australia: 100 ahead and no wickets down in the second innings.
“I suppose that might be where we are as a side. When you’re winning games of cricket, you get yourself in a good situation like that and you really take advantage of it.”
Cook said he was totally responsible as captain for his side’s defeats.
“At the end of this series, if the selectors decide that I’m not the best man for the job, then so be it,” he said.
“It would hurt.
“I have no plans of going anywhere, I am desperately trying to use much of my experience of playing 100 Tests to help turn this team around.
“If someone decides there’s a better man for the job, I have to take that on the chin.
“In a strange way, I’m enjoying the job – I’m enjoying the challenge.”