Kevin Pietersen believes England are paying the price for being “mentally a bit fragile” due to the intensity of consecutive Ashes series within a six month period.
There was yet another batting collapse as England squandered a match winning position. Australia ended the third day 201 runs short of victory with 10 second-innings wickets in hand. England were 111 runs ahead with nine wickets left when Alastair Cook fell to Mitchell Johnson just after lunch but then suffered two collapses with three top order batsmen falling for three runs in five balls.
The tail was demolished again as the last five batsmen added just six runs. Ian Bell played a poor shot to be out first ball to Nathan Lyon, who ended with five for fifty on a pitch offering little turn for the spinners, as Australia fought their way back in the game.
Lyon became only the sixth Australian off-spinner to claim 100 Test victims.
Pietersen has been the lone England batsman to perform in this match with 71 in the first innings and a battling 49 on Saturday. But this has been a poor series by his standards. Pietersen compared England’s mood going into the series after the Ashes high last summer with that experienced by athletes after an Olympics.
“People must not forget it has never been done before that guys have to endure ten back-to-back Ashes Tests. That is taking its toll,” he said. “A number of post Olympic athletes go into depression or a negative frame of mind after an Olympics. I’m not saying we are in depression or in a negative state of mind but after you have competed at such a competitive level, mentally you are a bit fragile.
“To play an Ashes and then another Ashes, and with us being away from home, it is a tough gig. It has been an incredibly pressurised situation.
“But when you look around the dressing room you have happier bunch of guys with their families here. We have proved here how much pride we have playing for England. We want to turn it around.”