"Humiliated" was the one-word headline in London's Evening Standard after England's innings defeat to Australia in the fourth test in Melbourne, which left the visitors 4-0 down.
"Apart from (Alastair) Cook, I don't think anyone has the stomach to play a rearguard innings," former England opening batsman Geoff Boycott said. "It was just poor all round. That's what's so disappointing for the fans. It's like they've given up."
Former captain Nasser Hussain agreed England had played "poor cricket" as it faced a 5-0 series whitewash in Australia, only 16 months after ending its 16-year Ashes drought with a 2-1 series upset in England.
"You have got to show the opposition an 'over my dead body' approach, the stubbornness of a Boycott or an (Michael) Atherton," Hussain said. "Was that stubbornness there? I don't think that was evident from anyone today."
If it loses the fifth test in Sydney, starting Tuesday, England will be the first side to suffer a series sweep in the Ashes since the 1920-21 series, when Australia won 5-0.
England captain Andrew Flintoff said his team wasn't giving up.
"As bad as I feel now, come the game in Sydney we have to go out there and put on a show," Flintoff said. "There's a lot of pride and character in the team ... we're trying our best, the fans can see that and it would be nice to repay them with a win in Sydney."
Former England cricket great Ian Botham didn't see those qualities in this side.
"You now hope that England will start to admit that they got their preparation wrong," the all-rounder said. "There is no getting away from that, just look at the score in the series."