The Poms have lost the Ashes. However, they remain world champions at national self-loathing. The tabloids will lead the charge and the broadsheets will fall in behind in an orgy of soul-searching despair.

So to help them in their quest for self-abasement, here are ten good reasons why England surrendered the Ashes quicker than it took Chamberlain to sublet Czechoslovakia to Hitler (oops, I mentioned the war again, didn’t I?)

1. Boot Camp: Warnie hated it because it was out of mobile range, MacGill suffered anxiety attacks wondering whether his wine cellar cooling unit had been left off and everyone was afraid that Langer would go all Colonel Kurtz on them. In the end Buchanan’s boot camp got the Aussies in a search and destroy frame of mind.

2. Sir Joh: The Barmy Army planned on turning the Brisbane Test into a tropical Lord’s with their singing and carry on. They didn’t count on some old-school Sir Joh era policing from the Queensland Wallopers that even silenced their horn section. England suddenly felt a very long way from home.

3. Shane Watson’s hamstrings: Watson is fast becoming cricket’s Matt Shirvington. His hamstrings went twang and Michael Clarke got the call up. The young Sydneysider didn’t need to know his moment had arrived. Crucial centuries in Adelaide and again in Perth played a huge part in Australia’s success.

4. Kevin Pietersen: And the fact there wasn’t two of him. The only player England has who could frighten the Aussies.

5. The Old Firm: Warne and McGrath are both very much on the wrong side of 30. That means they’ve tormented English cricket for over a decade. How much fun would that be? No wonder they keep coming back for more.

6. Cyclone Adam: It seemed the Poms found some sort of Kryptonite to put in his gloves in the 2005 series. However, they know Gilly only needs to strike once to wreak havoc. Landfall for Cyclone Gilchrist was in Perth on Sunday afternoon. England was flattened.

7. Freddy Flintoff: The Lion that roared in 2005 was tame here. Injury stalked him and the captaincy didn’t sit well. The hero takes a fall.

8. Duncan Fletcher: He totally misread Marcus Trescothick’s circumstances. He batted Pietersen at five when he should have been at four. And he insisted on Ashley Giles who couldn’t spin a roulette wheel.

9. Ricky Ponting: There is Bradman and then there is Ponting. The stats don’t lie. He is already an immortal.

10. The weight of expectation: Like a noose around the neck of English sport. Steve Harmison’s first ball of the series summed it all up.

Peter Fray

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