England vs. Australia the Ashes 2013: Series Whitewash Looms for Aussies

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Shane Watson of Australia looks on as Tim Bresnan (L) and Joe Root of England run between the wickets during day three of the 2nd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 20, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Australian cricket team will feel a million miles away from home right now.

Although the Baggy Greens were outsiders going into the Ashes, many Aussies expected a better fight than the team have put up after two encounters.

With the Day 4 conclusion of the Second Test confirming a 2-0 England lead, the struggling visitors must now win three consecutive matches to secure their first Ashes victory since 2006-07. It's a hopeless situation as tweeted by legendary Australian bowler and Sky Sports commentator Shane Warne:

"Pain" is the key word there. Whether it's James Anderson's 10-wicket haul at Trent Bridge or Joe Root's terrific 180 at Lord's, England's performances have been defined by individual triumphs.

Australia's series has been defined by individual failure.

Michael Clarke showed a moment of inspiration when he tossed the ball to Steve Smith during the first innings of the Second Test. The 24-year-old dismissed Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior to harm England's chances, but when Australia's bowlers toiled during the second innings, Clarke had no answer.

Shane Watson must also be added to the list of individuals who needs to step up. As written by Colin Bateman of the Daily Express, his decision to review an obvious LBW call plagued Australia's terrible Day 2 of the Second Test:

The most damaging indulgence of the day belonged to Watson who, if he was top of the 'mateship' charts in the Australian dressing room as everyone around the team insisted before the Test, is surely not there now.

It would have been no surprise if, having wasted one of his team’s two referrals on a plumb lbw decision on the stroke of lunch, his reviving energy drink had not been laced with something very nasty by his team-mates.

His decision to review the dismissal came after his partner Chris Rogers said he thought the ball might have been missing leg stump, but Watson should have known better than to gamble on his self-preservation.

Watson's willingness to plant his front pad and plow through any ball continually lets the team down. His timing and balance is off, providing Australia's less experienced batters with greater pressure after he fails to add a significant total.

Heading into the Third Test, these problems should seriously worry Australian followers. England are yet to bring all of their skills together into one memorable performance, but continue to notch up the wins through individual success.

A 5-0 series whitewash was 16-1 with Skybet before any play had taken place, and right now, that is excellent value for money.

To make matters worse, even CNN journalist and much loathed Englishman Piers Morgan has found time to mock the Aussies:

Now is the moment to improve. Australia have 10 days to rest and recollect themselves before the vital Third Test. Mistakes must be eradicated, performance levels need to be improved and most importantly, the Aussies have to show the nation some fight.

Otherwise, the big 5-0 will etch itself into the history books forever.