Sir Ian Botham was spot on when he predicted back-to-back Ashes whitewashes. But whether or not Beefy’s prophecy comes true will depend on England showing the kind of ruthless streak that has for so long been an Australian hallmark

Anything less than a 5-0 series win in the current series will be a failure now that Alastair Cook and his team-mates have asserted total supremacy. You can bet your life the Ausies would show mo mercy if the roles were reversed.

England have their foot on the Aussie’s throat with a commanding 566 run lead and five second innings wickets still standing at the end of day 3 of the Second Test at Lords – and that is where it must remain.

Not only are the tourists already well beaten, but England can strike a huge psychological blow that will cast a huge shadow over the rest of this Ashes series and the return down under that starts later this year. Imagine how broken Michael Clarke’s fragile team will be if Joe Root – imperious on 178 not out – completes his double century and then the English attack again dismantle the Australians in pursuit of a mammoth total.

Personally, I hate the fact that England had to cheat to win the First Test when Stuart Broad refused to walk. Call me old-fashioned but that simply wasn’t cricket and a shameful admission that the purity of sport has been replaced by the professional ethos of winning at all costs.

There is a big difference between crushing your opposition when they are on the floor and resorting to dishonesty when you lack the style and poise to overcome a setback at a pivotal moment.

This England team are good enough to smash Australia and break their spirit without losing their dignity.

– BY JOHN GUBBA

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