Ashes 2017-18: Timeline of England's nightmare tour

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It has been an Ashes to forget for England.

Australia put England to the sword during their Ashes tour – gaining an unassailable 3-0 lead in Perth and punishing them in Sydney to wind up 4-0 winners.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at a timeline of England’s forgettable campaign.

September 22: England suffer an injury blow before even announcing the Ashes squad when Middlesex paceman Toby Roland-Jones is ruled out with a stress fracture to his back.

September 26: It emerges all-rounder Ben Stokes had been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and released under investigation without charge after an incident in Bristol following celebrations from the one-day international against West Indies. Batsman Alex Hales is also helping assist police with their enquiries.

September 27: Vice-captain Stokes is included in the Ashes squad, before news later emerges he suffered a minor fracture of a finger on his right hand during the incident in Bristol. Footage published on The Sun newspaper’s website appears to show Stokes throwing punches in a street fight.

September 28: The England and Wales cricket Board announces Stokes and Hales will not be considered for selection for England matches until further notice as investigations by Avon and Somerset Police continue.

Stokes is dropped from the Ashes squad and suspended indefinitely.

Stokes was dropped from the Ashes squad and suspended indefinitely.

September 29: Former glamour model Katie Price speaks out over a video which appears to show England all-rounder Stokes mocking her disabled son Harvey, while England captain Joe Root and bowler Stuart Broad decide not to join Jos Buttler on his weekend stag party in Amsterdam.

October 6: The ECB confirms Stokes will not travel to Australia with the rest of the Ashes squad, while Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Jake Ball are given formal written warnings and fined for “unprofessional conduct” following an internal investigation into behaviour within the one-day squad. Seamer Steven Finn, meanwhile, is added to the Ashes touring squad.

October 29: Soon after England arrive Down Under, it emerges Bairstow greeted Australian opener Cameron Bancroft with a ‘bump headbutt’ when they met in a Perth bar.

November 3: The ECB confirms Moeen Ali and Finn will miss the first two warm-up matches because of injury.

November 7: Finn is subsequently ruled out of the Ashes after scans revealed a torn cartilage in his left knee. Uncapped Surrey seamer Tom Curran is called up.

Finn's Ashes tour is cut short without playing a match.

Finn’s Ashes tour was cut short without playing a match.

November 10: England draft in uncapped Lions seamer George Garton as cover for Ball, who has an ankle ligament strain.

November 27: Australia record an emphatic 10-wicket victory to claim the opening Ashes test in Brisbane. The ECB subsequently confirms Bairstow has been talked to over his late-night altercation with Bancroft, who described the introductory gesture as “‘really weird”, but without malice.

Bancroft played down the incident with Baistow after Australia's win at Brisbane

Bancroft played down the incident with Bairstow after Australia’s win at Brisbane.

November 28: Pictures emerge on social media of Stokes at Heathrow Airport, as the all-rounder prepares to travel to New Zealand to play for Canterbury Kings.

November 29: An Avon & Somerset Police statement reveals a decision has yet to be made over whether Stokes will face charges in a criminal investigation – a file is passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on charging over the Bristol incident, with a 27-year-old man suffering a fractured eye socket.

December 4: The ECB announces Hales is available for England selection again after he was no longer being treated as a suspect in relation to the incident in Bristol.

December 6: England lose the inaugural pink-ball Ashes Test in Adelaide by 120 runs, while Stokes and Hales are later provisionally included in the 16-man one-day squad.

The hosts recorded a comfortable victory in Adelaide.

The hosts recorded a comfortable victory in Adelaide.

December 9: England Lions opener Ben Duckett is provisionally suspended and faces a disciplinary hearing over an incident in a Perth bar, during which the 23-year-old poured a drink over James Anderson’s head. Coach Trevor Bayliss brands the latest saga “boys being boys… but totally unacceptable.”

December 10: Duckett, suspended from playing for the remainder of the England Lions training camp, is given a final written warning, but will not return home early.

Duckett is suspended for his antics at a Perth bar.

Duckett was suspended for his antics at a Perth bar.

December 18: England’s Ashes hopes are ended following defeat by an innings and 41 runs at the WACA.

December 19: Seamer Craig Overton admits he may not make the Boxing Day Test after suffering a hairline rib fracture.

December 24: Overton’s absence from the England team in Melbourne is confirmed as Tom Curran comes into the side.

Overton is ruled out of the Melbourne Test with his injury.

Overton was ruled out of the Melbourne Test with his injury.

December 30: England and Australia draw the Melbourne Test, as Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten 244 in the first innings – the first player to carry his bat in a Test match for 20 years.

January 4: Mason Crane makes his Test debut in Sydney – replacing the injured Chris Woakes.

January 8: Australia record emphatic victory by an innings and 123 runs to finish the Ashes series with a 4-0 margin.

Australia steamroll England in the final Test to record a 4-0 Ashes win.

Australia steamroll England in the final Test to record a 4-0 Ashes win.

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Australia beat England 4-0 and lift Ashes urn

Captain Steve Smith holds aloft the Ashes urn.

Australia ruthlessly extinguished England’s resistance to claim an innings victory in the fifth Ashes Test and complete a 4-0 series rout on the final day in Sydney on Monday.

The beleaguered tourists, with skipper Joe Root weakened by a stomach bug and unable to continue batting, dissolved after lunch, losing their last four wickets for their fourth comprehensive defeat of the series.

“It has been a great couple of months. The cricket that we have played in the last couple of months has been outstanding,” Australia skipper Steve Smith said.

“We have just been able to get on top and win those key moments and not let them back in the game which is crucial.”

Pat Cummins led the Australian offensive in Sydney with four wickets for 39 to finish man-of-the-match and the leading wicket taker in the series with 23.

“To get through the five Tests and end the series here at home. I couldn’t asked for much more,” said an ecstatic Cummins.

England finished at 180 for nine off 88.1 overs as Australia won by an innings and 123 runs.

It followed comprehensive losses on the troubled five-Test tour in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The fourth Test was drawn in Melbourne.

Stricken Root did not come out to bat after lunch as he continued to experience discomfort after his overnight stomach bug.

“He is asleep. He has a gastro bug and he has not been too well through the night and the heat yesterday didn’t help. He is asleep in the dressing-room trying to recover,” said vice-captain Jimmy Anderson, deputising for Root at the post-match presentations.

“To be honest we have been outplayed in the key moments of each game,” he added.

“We have been in the games to an extent but just not been able to capitalise on any opportunities. Australia have played great in this series.”

Cummins struck twice in three balls after lunch, trapping Jonny Bairstow leg before wicket for 38 and having Stuart Broad caught behind off a brutish bouncer for four.

Mason Crane got another Cummins bouncer which he gloved to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for two and Anderson was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood for two to end the innings.

Root went to hospital overnight with England Cricket initially saying he had “severe dehydration” after fielding and batting in intense heat on Sunday.

But team officials corrected earlier statements and said Root was instead weakened by the effects of a gastroenteritis bug.

He came out to bat on the dismissal of Moeen Ali for 13 an hour into the final day’s play and reached his fifth half-century of the series, but was unable to convert any of them to a century.

England’s remote chances of saving the Test disappeared when Root failed to appear at the crease after lunch.

Spinner Nathan Lyon claimed Moeen’s wicket for the seventh time in the series when he trapped him leg before in the morning session, which Moeen did not review.

Lyon took three wickets for 54 off 35 overs.

The Australians took a grip on the final Test with a massive 303-run innings lead and then reduced the battle-weary tourists to 93 for four at the close on the fourth day.

All five Tests went into the fifth day.

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Australia 'outplayed' England in key moments of every Ashes Test, says James Anderson

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James Anderson claimed the most wickets for England, 17.

England’s failure to capitalise on opportunities in key moments of the Ashes resulted in their 4-0 loss to a “far better” Australia side, Jimmy Anderson admitted after the series drew to a close in Sydney.

The vice-captain said falling short on the run count and not keeping pressure up on the hosts led to defeat Down Under.

Anderson stood in for captain Joe Root at the presentation, the skipper put out of action due to a “gastro bug” that followed playing in record heat on the final Test’s penultimate day.

He said: “I think, to be honest, we’ve been outplayed in the key moments of each game. We’ve been in the games to an extent but we’ve just not been able to capitalise on any opportunities we got.”

The 35-year-old added: “Australia – credit to Steve (Smith) and his team, they’ve played fantastically well throughout the series and were the far better side throughout the tournament.”

Australia’s bowlers were unrelenting to the final wicket, finishing off England for 180 runs in the final Test as they scored an innings and 123 run win.

Anderson said: “They have got a fantastic bowling attack and all the batsmen have come to the party, they’ve scored runs when the team needed them.

“I think looking at ourselves that’s were we’ve slipped up. We’ve not scored the amount of runs you need to win a series like this and as a bowling group we have not not created the pressure  for long enough periods of time.”

Root, who had spent the morning in hospital with dehydration before returning to the Sydney cricket Ground hoping to make a final stand, was “asleep in the dressing room trying to recover” when the final wicket fell.

Anderson said: “He’s not been too well throughout the night and it’s taken its toll on him, I think the heat yesterday didn’t help.”

Paying tribute to the England fans who on Sunday endured the hottest day in Sydney since 1939, Anderson said: “We are very lucky to have such great support, not just the Barmy Army, we’ve got a lot of English travelling support that follows us round the world and we are very grateful for them even though we’ve been beaten in this series.”

Australia captain Steve Smith said “belief”, each player knowing their roles and a home crowd were behind their success.

He said: “I think England had their foot in the door in all of the Test matches, they’ve played some exceptional cricket and we’ve just been able to get on top in those key moments and not let them back in the game which has been crucial.”

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