Well, that’s that then.
I mean, there was some sense in having the 4th Test in Manchester in September – if we needed rain to save us, this was the best choice of venue.
But no, not even rain could save England from Steve Smith and that bowling attack.
The Ashes remain with Australia and deservedly so.
After all, they have the greatest batsman I have ever seen play the game – whoever decided to ban him for a year cost England the Ashes. Giving Smith 12 months or so to mentally refresh, hone that crazy technique further and set goals for himself to smash did not help our cause one little bit.
Let’s be clear here – there wasn’t a great deal between about eight of each side’s 11 picked each time.
Eight players on both sides were distinctly average in each Test match and more often than not, Australia found three more than England that were an absolute cut above.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood made the ball talk all series and, even with the emergence of Jofra Archer, it was clear that their bowling attack was better than England’s.
You didn’t see Australia scraping the bottom of a barrel and coming up with Lurch Overton, did you? How on earth he is anyway near a Test attack is beyond me.
The 2019 Ashes has given us Headlingly, of course – but does it even count? Had Steve Smith played there is no way Ben Stokes would have had his moment. It’s lovely that Sky get to play this over and over and over again and yes, it was special to watch.
But it means nothing now. Nothing.
As Ben Stokes said before the game, ‘it is worthless if we don’t bring home the Ashes now’ and we haven’t.
You can’t knock the character England have shown throughout the series – they nearly pulled it off on Sunday night to steal an incredible draw facing that bowling attack.
But character is not enough.
I’m finally prepared to accept that bringing the best of the ODI side to the Test arena is not going to work unless they are able to adjust their game slightly for the demands of red-ball cricket. I, like so many others, desperately wanted to see Jason Roy do what he does at the top of the order but it hasn’t happened for him.
It’s not just Jason Roy though – Joe Root needs to be relieved of the burden of being a terrible captain and let him bat and remember what it’s like to regularly convert 50s into big hundreds.
The whole side needs a revolution now – ideally timed with a new coach coming in. A direction needs to be mapped out, players selected that match it and away we go.
Players that have to be retained, in my humble opinion, are Rory Burns, Root (as a player, not a captain), Stokes, Archer, Curran (remember him?) and Broad.
The rest are fighting for their spots – and can we please bring back Ben Foakes?
Although it is always sad to see the Ashes pass us by once again, you can only doff your cap to the genius of Smith and applaud the bowling skill of Cummins.
And, you can never take the World Cup away from us.