It has all just fallen apart.
The Ashes have been lost, congratulations England. Australia stumbled about shuffling the deck chairs but the only constant has been losing thus far (besides Manchester). Once again – there were changes for Australia as Jackson Bird came in for Mitchell Starc with Warner promoted to opening putting Watson in the middle order.
England called right at the toss again and looked to pile on the runs to continue Australia’s misery after failing to wrest the Ashes away from the mother country. It was going well for the home side at 2/149 but enter the Lyon. Nathan Lyon who had been rightly panned for his lack of wickets in this series, delivered – he had picked up Trott beforehand then followed up taking Pietersen, Bell and Bairstow to reduce England to 9/238 at the end of the first day.
Harris quickly took the final wicket and Australia had the whole of the second day to bat. The batsmen (besides Chris Rogers) didn’t get the memo as they reverted to type, losing quick wickets and being 4/76, Stuart Broad taking the majority of the top order and added two lower order ones for a first innings five-for. Day 2 belonged to Chris Rogers though, he stuck through the tough patches showing the form he procured in the County Championship over the last ten years finding an able partner in Shane Watson to guide Australia over 200 and importantly Rogers to his first century for his country.
Rogers battle to get from the 90s to the century was a mirror to his career, as he was being tested and prodded by Swann with men around the bat. He didn’t score for 19 consecutive deliveries before sweeping away his troubles. The tail followed shortly to give Australia a slender 32 run lead that proved the downfall of Joe Root to Ryan Harris. Harris much like the previous two tests was the chief wicket taker taking nine over the course of the test match.
He had a weight before taking the vital wicket though, as Ian Bell continued his stellar form in this Ashes series. In an innings that no other batsmen proved past the half century, Bell underlined the patience and determination that has been the trademark for his career since he evolved from the “Sherminator” nickname bestowed upon him by Shane Warne. Bell now has three centuries in this series and four in the last five test matches but was aided by some lusty hitting by Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann to push the target from a chase under 250 to 299. Australia had a day and a half to chase the target but could they maintain the sensible nature needed to get a win on the board.
First innings centurion Chris Rogers and David Warner put Australia on the best path to victory following a stand of 109 before Swann tempted Rogers to nick one to Trott. The stand was something that had been lacking in the previous three test matches – positive intent as Warner was scoring quickly with Rogers anchoring the other end to get Warner to a fifty. Despite the loss of Rogers, Australia continued to inch closer to the total getting to 4/174 over halfway towards the target before enter Stuart Broad.
Broad who has been the pantomime villain for Australian’s after his non walking in the first test showed why he is a devastating bowler on his day. He started with a cracking delivery to dismiss Michael Clarke which set in the rot and the familiar collapse which has plagued the Aussies in the last few years resurfaced. Broad though cranked it up to maximum, touching past 140 kms/ph swinging the ball just destroyed the already low confidence of the batsmen towards a ten wicket haul over the test match. A limp surrender briefly halted by Peter Siddle showing more grunt than most of the top order before the celebrations begun and it ticked over to 3-0 England with one game left to play. Australia out of answers and England loving every minute in their transformation in the 1990s England.
pic: the age