2nd Test, Day Four, Lord’s.
Australia thrashed England at Lord’s by 405 runs to level the Ashes series 1-1 with a day to spare.
England’s horrific second innings batting collapse added salt into the wounds, as they were bowled out for just 103 on what was a decent batting pitch.
Australia had earlier in the day racked up another 146 runs, before declaring on 254-2 just before lunch. This meant England would need to withstand five sessions (or 155 overs) of brutal Australian bowling to save the test.
They managed to survive just 37.
With all their wickets in tact at lunch, no one would have seen the avalanche that was about to unfold. Alastair Cook, Gary Ballance and Adam Lyth were all caught behind to begin the carnage.
Under pressure Ian Bell could then only master up 11 runs from 50 deliveries before he poked a Nathan Lyon ball straight to short leg for the simplest of catches.
Just as the hosts thought it couldn’t get worse, Ben Stokes was daftly run out for zero. Somehow, he failed to ground either himself or his bat when Mitchell Johnson arrowed a throw directly at the stumps.
By tea England were five down and knew they just had to see the day out without losing any more wickets.
Instead, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali both came and went within five deliveries from Johnson.
Stuart Broad, the only England player to have played decent cricket in this test, slugged the ball about to a quick 25 score before he was caught at cover to make it 101-8.
Only two more runs were added before Josh Hazlewood then wrapped up proceedings. He clean bowled both Joe Root and James Anderson, sparking wild celebrations for the Australians.
The only concern for the winning side was the health of in-form opener Chris Rodgers, who retired on 49 due to illness. He watched on from the pavilion for the remainder of the day, but should feature at Edgbaston in nine days time.
The defeat was England’s third heaviest against their rivals, and must now consider changes- particularly at the top of the order.
“When you get bowled out for 100, it isn’t good enough,” admitted Cook.
“Australia put us under pressure and we weren’t able to deal with it.
“We have come up short this week. But we have to take this on the chin. Now it’s about the character we need to show in order to bounce back.”
For Australia, it was the perfect response to their defeat in Cardiff last week as they now aim to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance,” said a ecstatic Michael Clarke.
“We didn’t play our best at Cardiff, but now we can look in the mirror and say we played some good cricket here.”
It’s funny just how much can change in a week.
Australia this time last week looked nothing like the side that has transformed since Darren Lehmann took over. England played the perfect test in Cardiff, but couldn’t replicate that form at Lord’s. Now it is them who need to ponder long and hard about how they can recover at Edgbaston.
The third test begins on July 29th.