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Abject England lost 10 wickets for 56 runs in 22.5 overs after openers Rory Burns and Zak Crawley had reached 68 without loss in reply to Australia’s second innings total of 155.
England had required 271 for victory to finish the series on a high note, but once Burns was the first to go in the 17th over, his team-mates followed him at regular intervals.
Former England captain Cook said: “OK, you competed in this game with the ball, but I actually can’t believe an hour and a half to lose 10 wickets, that’s the biggest shock as a batter and a professional who plays cricket…
“You get bowled out in a session once or twice in a career and this side, after a couple of wickets, we said ‘something is on here’ and you see a batting line-up devoid of all confidence, once they lose one or two, no one steps up and stops the slide.”
England had battled gamely to eke out a draw in the fourth Test in Sydney, but in Hobart they folded once again.
Cook added: “That was very tough viewing, that has to be our rock bottom, there cannot be a worse a place than getting bowled out in a hour and a half.”
Root said England’s batters had not been able to offer their bowlers enough support throughout the series.
He said: “It’s pretty obvious really that we need to be putting some more runs on the board as a batting group. Too often we’ve not given our bowlers enough to work with.
“In all areas in general I do think we’ve been outplayed and credit to Australia for that, they’ve deserved to win this series.
“Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and respect the fact that a team has outplayed you.
“A massive thank you for having us here on this tour. I know the circumstances have been trying at times, but we really appreciate the opportunity to come and tour here.
“It’s a huge occasion, a huge series and we’re very grateful for the hospitality. Credit to Australia. Congratulations to Pat (Cummins) and your team, well done on this win.”
England head coach Chris Silverwood would not be drawn on his own future when speaking to BT Sport after the match.
He said: “That’s obviously something that will come out in the review later on, so I’m not going to speak about that right now.
“Clearly there will be a review and things will be assessed.”
When asked whether correct decisions had been made in terms of team selection and whether to bat first or bowl, Silverwood said he would be “looking to learn” from the series.
He added: “We sit down, we talk about the team, we make selections and you go with it. You make a plan and you do the best you can.
“The fact is, it’s sport, it’s cricket. Your going to make decisions, some will agree, some people won’t, that’s the beauty of what we do really.
“But equally, it’s something I will reflect on. I will go away and talk to the people, people I trust, and get some honest feedback. I’ll be looking to learn as well.”
Australia skipper Cummins agreed his side’s 4-0 series win had been the stuff of boyhood dreams.
Cummins said in his post-match interview: “Yeah it really is. It’s pretty crazy. In professional cricket these are the things you have in your diary a couple of years out.
“So to be at the end of a five-Test match series with so many positives, obviously winning 4-0, it’s just huge. We’re really pumped.”