But it set off Test legends into an argument on live TV as Geoffrey Boycott mockingly laughed at Ponting’s assessment on BT Sport as England went 3-0 down.
The tourists were unable to keep Josh Hazlewood (five for 48) at bay today as they folded from 132 for four to 218 all out in under 35 overs to lose by an innings and 41 runs, with a session unused, and hand Australia an unassailable series lead.
That followed a controversial three-hour delay after overnight rain got underneath the WACA’s leaky covers.
Cook made just 7 and 14 in his 150th Test match and now has just 83 runs this series – at an average of less than 14.
Ponting blasted the former England skipper and said: “I don’t think it is a technical issue – I think it’s a mental issue.
“I don’t think his brain is allowing his feet to move anywhere, it’s as simple as that. You see the ball, you go forward to it but he’s going straight back.
Pundits argued after England lost the Ashes to Australia
“It’s not a technical thing. I said last night he seems in a really defensive frame of mind.
“He’s going back in his crease as far as he is and trying to defend his stumps and not get bowled – rather than going forward at the ball and trying to score runs. That’s what I’d be telling him anyway.
“I’d say ‘get out there and hit the ball down the ground’.”
Michael Vaughan disagreed while Geoffrey Boycott was in stitches at Ponting’s verdict.
“I’m laughing at Ricky, ‘get out there and hit them’,” he said.” Hazlewood and company aren’t going to let them go out and hit them.”
Ponting hit back and said “they are half volleys, he’s played that way for 150 Test matches” before Boycott retorted: “They won’t let him play them and drive.”
It prompted Adam Gilchrist to intervene with the Australian wicket-keeper joking: “I’m going to get the red card out here soon. It’s getting more heated here than it did in the match.”
Ricky Ponting believes Alastair Cook has a mental issue in his game
Alastair Cook has struggled for form during the Ashes
Australia celebrate their Ashes win after the Perth Test
Thrilled Australia captain Steve Smith praised his bowlers and savoured an “amazing” feeling as a victorious Ashes captain.
“Captaining an Ashes-winning side, it’s an amazing feeling,” Smith said after Australia bowled England out for 218.
“So much preparation has gone into this Ashes series. The way we’ve gone about it has been spectacular.
“So many different emotions are coming out right now, I’m that excited.
“The bowlers have done a terrific job throughout the whole series … I thought Josh Hazlewood was magnificent today to get five wickets.
England captain Joe Root was downcast after emulating his predecessor Alastair Cook in surrendering the urn with two games to spare.
“Yeah, it is very difficult to take,” he said.
“They’ve outplayed us in all three games. We’ve got to be better.
“We’ve got to make sure we go to Melbourne and prepare well and put in really good performances there.”
England have been without Ben Stokes in Australia after he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following a drinking session in Bristol in September..
Stokes spent a night in custody and was questioned by Avon and Somerset police after an incident outside a nightclub in Bristol city centre at 2.35am
Former England captain Vaughan does not think even he would have stopped the rot, though.
He said: “I would hope Ben Stokes is watching and I hope he’s hurting more than the team in the dressing room.
“As soon as Ben Stokes did what he did, it was very clear to me he was going to struggle in Australia.
“I said in straight away, I didn’t think England had any chance of competing here without Ben Stokes.
“I hope he’s hurting more than the players that have been here.”
ASHES IN NUMBERS
37 – Alastair Cook’s top score in six innings. It is the only time the England opener has passed 20 en route to a series average of 13.83.
29.33 – batting average of captain Joe Root, who has not fared much better than his predecessor.
181 – Mitchell Marsh’s first innings in the series brought more runs than Root (176) or Cook (83) have managed in six.
239 – Australia skipper Steve Smith’s first-innings score in the third Test, meanwhile, was more than any England batsman had made in the series up to that point, other than Dawid Malan (248).
662 – Australia’s total before declaring nine down in their first innings in Perth was their third-highest on home soil and their fifth-highest in an Ashes Test.
5 – five different England bowlers conceded more than 100 runs in that innings. It is only the eighth time in Test history that has happened, and the third involving an England attack.
0 – times England have taken 20 wickets in a Test in the current series. Australia made 173 without loss to win by 10 wickets in Brisbane and also declared their first innings in Adelaide on 442 for eight.