Moments not taken

IT'S moments like these you need Minties sums up England's campaign in this Ashes series down under.

In any sport, at any level, momentum will ebb and flow

Although Australia has all the momentum in its quest for a hat-trick of Test victories and regaining the Ashes, there have been times when England has had control on the cricket field.

What the English batsmen, bowlers and fieldsmen have not done is capitalise on that momentum for long enough.

In any sport, momentum will ebb and flow.

The way bat can dominate, and then ball takes over, is what makes cricket so fascinating.

Making the most of opportunities is all-important, whether it be in the Test arena, one-dayers, or an under-17s clash at Eaglehawk.

In this Ashes series there have been times when England has grassed chances in the field, or been dismissed through poor shot selection.

Australia's fielding is superb, the batsmen are in an attacking mode from the first ball, and others have answered the challenge.

But it has not been all one-way.

You only have to think back to day one at the Gabba when Australia was on the ropes on 6-132.

A resurgent Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson led Australia's fightback in its first innings and played key roles in the first and second Test wins.

Australia's middle and lower-order batsmen again played a crucial role in Adelaide.

It's been more of the same in Perth where England was well in the game on day one, but then let the Aussies take control.

The Australian attack led by Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle is not the most formidable in cricket history, but has worked extremely hard on plans and intimidation, especially of England's lower-order.

For many of England's stars it's been a tour to forget so far.

There have been glimmers of hope through the batting of Joe Root, all-round skill of Ben Stokes, and fight of Stuart Broad.

England captain Alastair Cook, pictured, finally struck form as he hit 72 in the first innings in Perth.

The wickets of Carberry and Root before tea on day two meant momentum was back with Australia.

When Cook was caught by David Warner, who went way over the top with the celebrations, the heat was right on.

The Australians have shown they do not rely on captain Michael Clarke scoring all the runs, or Johnson taking all the wickets.

Australia's ability to take control, regain it, or keep England under immense pressure is the greatest difference in this series.

Since he took over as coach, Darren Lehmann has played a crucial role in changing the mindset of Australia's team.

What a turnaround it's been since England celebrated a hat-trick of Ashes series wins in the middle of this year. 

England battles to deal with relentless pressure

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