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Two down with three Ashes matches to play – is there any way back for England? | Vic Marks

There are plusses for England despite the scoreline – Craig Overton, Chris Woakes and some team spirit – but the side may be clutching at straws from here on in

In both Brisbane and Adelaide England have managed to tantalise. They have not been uniformly hopeless. They clung on at the Gabba for three days; indeed there were moments there when they could have taken control of that game. Conversely in Adelaide, having played ineptly for two and a half days, they bowled Australia out for 138 in their second innings and so conjured up the possibility of an historic victory. On the fourth day they rose again and allowed their fans to dream. On the fifth grim reality returned. All out for 233 defeated by 120 runs.

Nonetheless there have been moments when the soft underbelly of their opponents has been visible. This is not a vintage Australian side. Darren Lehmann is not a backward looking bloke, which is just as well. If he was he would surely look at some of his batsmen and then wonder how it was that he only played 27 Tests for Australia and Stuart Law played just one. How Steve Smith would love a Lehmann and a Law in his middle order; so would Joe Root for that matter.

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