Australia thrash England to level Ashes series

Michael Clarke

Australia captain Michael Clarke said he “couldn’t have asked for a better
performance” after his side thrashed England by 405 runs to win the second
Test at Lord’s on Sunday.

Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, saw Australia square the five-match
series at 1-1.

This was the fourth largest winning margin, in terms of runs, by either side
in 138 years of Anglo-Australian Test cricket and came just a week after Clarke’s
men lost the series opener in Cardiff by 169 runs — another match that ended
inside four days.

At Lord’s, Australia were on top right from the start, compiling a first-innings
total of 566 for eight declared featuring personal Test-best scores of 215 from
Steven Smith and 173 by opener Chris Rogers.

Then, having set England a mammoth 509 to win shortly before lunch on Sunday’s
fourth day, Australia skittled out their arch-rivals for a meagre 103 in just
37 overs.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance,” said Clarke, looking
to lead Australia to a first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years.

“The intent from our batsmen through the second innings was great and
the execution from the bowlers was spot on,” added Clarke, hoping to emulate
Mark Taylor — the last Australia captain to win the Ashes from 1-0 down during
the 1997 series in England.

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who took three for 27 as the head of a hostile
pace attack, said: “To end the game like that was unbelievable.

“The first Test woke us up a bit and seeing more bounce here fired us
up.”

Meanwhile Smith, whose unorthodox technique was questioned by the likes of
former England spinner Graeme Swann, added: “My partnership with Chris
Rogers (they added 284 for the second wicket in the first innings) put us into
a good position and we kicked on from there.”

For the third Test series in a row this year, as happened away to the West
Indies and at home to New Zealand, England had been pegged back after going
1-0 up.

Even more worryingly, Sunday’s slump to 42 for three was the seventh time in
their last 13 Test innings that England had been three wickets down for 43 or
under.

“Hats off to Australia for the way they bounced back,” said England
captain Alastair Cook out for 11 on Sunday after a gritty 96 in England’s first
innings 312.

“They put us under a lot of pressure all game and we weren’t able to deal
with it.

“Over the last few games, we have been three down for 40-odd and that
is an area of concern.”

The only real setback for Australia on a day of total dominance was when Rogers
retired hurt on 49 not out just two overs into Sunday’s play after suffering
a dizzy spell.

He didn’t feature again in the match, with the 37-year-old — who plans to
retire at the end of this series — having missed Australia’s recent series
in the West Indies after suffering concussion while batting in the nets.

Rogers was also struck on the side of the helmet, by James Anderson, while
batting in the first innings at Lord’s.

Australia, who have a three-day tour match against Derbyshire starting Thursday
ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston on July 29, do have another opener in their
squad in Shaun Marsh, who deputised for Rogers in the Caribbean.

“Chris Rogers is still getting checked now,” said Clarke.

“He probably thinks we cost him a hundred today.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *