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Ashes lessons so far: from Australia’s fab four to England’s failure to convert | Rob Smyth

Australia’s pacemen, supplemented by the late-blossoming Nathan Lyon, are dominant against England batsmen who are struggling to build on good starts

England have not been pulverised as they were in 2013-14. Theirs is a different kind of pain, the torment of life’s cruellest question: what if? History can also be written by the vanquished, even if few people want to read their version; and though Australia have been the better team, England will reflect on their inability to either recognise or seize a number of key moments. At Brisbane they were 246 for four in the first innings, and then had Australia 209 for seven before the mysterious case of the absent Jimmy Anderson. And they will forever wonder what might have happened had they performed in the first innings at Adelaide as they did in the second. This is shaping up to be England’s most frustrating tour of Australia since 1990-91, when they were competitive in all five Tests – and still lost 3-0.

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