England were as poor in the second Ashes Test against Australia as they were good in the first.

Inconsistency struck this inexperienced side once again as all the good work England produced at Cardiff was undone in this humiliating 405-run defeat at Lord's. 

From the moment Michael Clarke won a crucial toss, England were up against it. To concede 566 runs in the first innings wasn't ideal, but it was forgiveable on a lifeless wicket which didn't suit their bowling attack.

But to lose their opening four wickets for just 30 runs in the first innings and then be skittled out for 103 yesterday was embarrassing.

Alastair Cook himself described it as "unacceptable".

It will raise serious questions about the make-up of the home side's batting line-up and the selectors will surely ponder changes before the series, tied at 1-1, resumes at Edgbaston on July 29.

In their past 13 innings, England have lost their third wicket for 52 or less eight times.

Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell are those in the firing line as three of England's top four who look hopelessly out of form.

Opener Lyth has only passed 50 once in his eight Test innings and needs to learn the value of leaving more balls outside the off stump at the start of an innings at this level.

However, he did score a century three Tests ago and got a good delivery from Mitchell Starc in the second innings of this one.

The Yorkshireman should be given more time to develop his partnership with Cook at the top of England's order. 

Bell is a man relying on his past success. He averages an impressive 43 with the bat in his 112-Test career and there is no doubting he is easy on the eye when in good touch. He was also England's player of the series when Australia last visited these shores two years ago.

But at the moment, Bell doesn't seem to know whether to stick or twist. When he does try and play his free-flowing game, he ends up driving the ball in the air and looking like he'll get out at any time. And when he plays the way he did yesterday - grinding out 11 runs off 50 balls - it just looks unnatural.

The 33-year-old has had these bad runs of form before.

With the next Test being at Edgbaston - his home ground - I think Bell has one final chance to prove he still has what it takes at international level. The prospect of him returning to form is too valuable for England to discard him now, especially when others are performing just as badly.

The man most at risk appears to be Gary Ballance. He's batting far too deep in his crease, is not moving his feet and looks uncomfortable against both short and, in particular, full deliveries. 

But, as with Bell, he has a phenomenal Test record so far, averaging 47.76.  

At this point, let's look at the options the England selectors have if they do decide to shake things up.

Jonny Bairstow, who impressed in the one-day side's series-deciding win against New Zealand, seems to have excellent timing as he scored his fifth County Championship century of the summer while England were toiling yesterday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman would most likely come in at five in the order.

Another figure in the improving ODI side, Alex Hales, would be the likely contender to open the batting if England did decide to drop Lyth. Along with his one-day heroics, the Nottinghamshire man has improved his batting in the longer form of the game, averaging 46.23 in the four-day fixtures this season.

The Bairstow option seems the most likely, but would be a risk considering he has looked vulnerable in the 14 Tests he has played previously.

Wholesale changes rarely work and could cause upset in what we are told is a far more positive dressing room these days. 

I would prefer to see the three men in possession be given one last chance to prove their worth in the third Test.

They have 10 days to work out a plan to score runs.

However, I would make one change - in the batting order itself. The number-three position is given to your 'gun player' historically (look at Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, etc). Ballance is not that man.

That title should be given to Joe Root, who is in fantastic form and has experience of facing the new ball. This alteration would add momentum earlier in England's innings and hopefully stop them consistently finding themselves 40 for three.

Ballance should be dropped down to number five, where he normally bats for Yorkshire. Here he will stand a much better chance of regaining his technique, against an older ball.

England desperately need the old Ballance and Bell if they are to wrestle back the Ashes from Australia. Let's hope the uneasy environment felt within 'last chance saloon' gets them firing again.