If England didn’t know it before then they certainly do now. They are in for a tough Ashes series down under and if they are to retain the urn again they will have to significantly improve on the performance they put in at The Gabba in the first Test.
It all looked so good after day one in Brisbane and plenty of England fans following the bet365.com betting were licking their lips in anticipation of another comfortable five-match run that Andy Flower’s men could contol and eventually win overall – again keeping the Aussies at arms length in the process.
However, Alastair Cook’s side floundered badly after the opening day – as a rejuvenated Mitchell Johnson ran riot through the order to help the Baggy Greens seal a deserved win to lead an Ashes series for the first time in seven years.
England’s key batsmen simply did not perform with Kevin Pietersen, Cook, and Jonathan Trott – who we learned afterwards was not at his best for other reasons – all struggling on what looked like a very good pitch. It was proved correct by a devastating Australian batting display in the second innings that Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann failed to tame.
Certainly, there is much to work on for the tourists. It will be a new feeling for much of the squad to have to sit and accept criticism from bet365 pundits after a poor display but they must take it on the chin because there can be few excuses for such a disappointing showing.
Former captain-turned pundit Nasser Hussain was among plenty voicing their discontent and he pulled no punches with his assessment.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s very worrying. They were bullied. It wasn’t as though Australia started well and they continued – England were bossing the game.
“On day one they were in control, all the memories of the summer were still there, they were playing well and since then it’s just been an absolute shambles.”
It has been a long time since England have been described as such but Hussain’s words were fair after what he had witnessed over three days in Brisbane.
England need to bounce back and head to Adelaide for the second Test, which begins on December 4, with plenty to ponder.