Where it all went wrong: Five mistakes England made during their Ashes collapse

England's dismal display in Melbourne extended Australia's lead to 3-0, and the tourists made plenty of mistakes en route to their thrashing.

It's been a torrid 12 days for England, who trail 3-0 in the Ashes after being embarrassed by Australia in Melbourne.

The hosts won the third Test by an innings as England subsided to 68 all out, adding to dismal performances in the first two Tests.

Frankly, since the opening session at The Gabba, near enough everything went wrong for England.

Here, Planet Sport explores the catalogue of errors and mistakes that led to England's misery, including the role of Joe Root's leadership.

Squad selection

Chris Silverwood, Cricket, England head coach

Eyebrows were already raised before England had taken flight. Back in April, head coach Chris Silverwood took on the role as national selector, aided by Joe Root, performance director Mo Bobat and head scout James Taylor.

Together, they selected a 17-strong squad once the trip was green-lighted. It included fast bowler Saqib Mahmood and leg-spinners Mason Crane and Matt Parkinson.

However, Liam Livingstone, who was fresh from a superb summer of white-ball cricket was left out. High on confidence, it was a surprise to many that Livingstone didn't make the cut.

When explaining the decision, Bobat said, "From a red-ball perspective, quite simply, it felt like there were other players ahead of him."

Rest and rotation

James Anderson, England, The Ashes, Bowling

With many players facing a hectic schedule as well the threat of COVID-19 this winter, it seemed admirable that England adopted a rest-and-rotate philosophy for the tour.

However, while that may benefit player welfare, many of the decisions seemed unfounded and resulted in the team lacking sharpness.

It was immediately flagged when both James Anderson and Stuart Broad were omitted on a green surface under cloud cover at Brisbane, yet they were back in an all-seam 80-85mph attack on a flatter Adelaide deck.

Jack Leach was left out after being manhandled in the opener but there was so much lavish turn on offer that Root, Dawid Malan and even seamer Ollie Robinson bowled spin in Australia's second innings.

Getting the basics wrong

Jos Buttler dejected for England

The first ball of the series sets the tone - just ask Steve Harmison. And after seeing Rory Burns' leg stump taken out by Mitchell Starc, it has been one-way traffic ever since.

Individual mistakes and glaringly obvious lapses in judgement plagued England's play throughout the tour.

Albeit rusty, Ben Stokes and Robinson both took wickets off no-balls, while Jos Buttler looked nervy with the gloves, taking the odd stunner but also missing regulation chances.

England's fielding in general was haphazard and they have missed a handful of run out opportunities. It left England's bowlers needing to create more than 10 chances per innings, and that was never going to be a sustainable approach.

Batters in tatters

Haseeb Hameed has been dismissed for ducks in successive Tests

While Australia's collection of bowlers were certainly ruthless, English batters were often the architects of their own downfall.

The visitors failed to reach 300 in any of their six innings, which alone tells you all you need to know about England's toothless batsmen.

There was also an overdependence on Root, whose 1,708 runs ranks third in the list of runs in a single calendar year.

No other England batter has reached 600 runs this year with a number struggling to deal with technical deficiencies, while others have been accused of lacking the patience or temperament to get through the tougher periods. Extras was England’s third top scorer in 2021.

Captaincy and leadership

Joe Root accepts England need wholesale changes after Ashes defeat

While it has been a golden year with the bat for Root, he has hardly covered himself in glory as captain. Winning the toss in the series opener and batting allowed one of the world’s best fast bowling attacks in Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to feast on a fragile and underprepared England batting line-up on a seaming track. 

Root also attracted criticism after singling out the bowlers during the Adelaide Test.

He suggested they were bowling the wrong length and also stated they needed to be "braver".

To add insult to injury, Root suffered repeated blows to the groin, the first of which was sustained in the Adelaide nets when he was not wearing a box, adding to the feeling this was more of ‘Carry On’ film than a cricket tour.

READ MORE: Pat Cummins celebrates 'dream' first Ashes win as Australia captain

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