Ashes 4th Test, England vs Australia Day 3

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mitchell-johnsonAfter a hapless display yesterday which saw England slump from 58-0 to 82-5 at close and brought English supporters crashing back to the bad old days, England resumed this morning 261 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat and 36 runs away from avoiding the heaviest home defeat in English cricket history.

James Anderson, who was needlessly sent in as nightwatchman yesterday evening, lasted all of 3 balls. His first scoring shot was a four from the 2nd ball to take his run of innings without a duck to 54, but was gone next ball edging Hilfenhaus to Ponting at 2nd slip. Six overs later, shortly after 11.30am, the last of the recognised batsmen was out with Matt Prior falling victim to a stunning one handed diving catch from the keeper Haddin. Four wickets in the innings for Hilfenhaus.

Stuart Broad, England’s leading bowler in the match having taken 6 wickets in the Australia soon became England’s leading batsman in the match, or at least in the innings, scoring a hugely entertaining 50 from just 43 balls. Swann was doing his bit at the other end passing 30 to get England, against all odds, up to 200 and beyond. Stuart Clark in particular took a fearful hammering from the pair, conceding 16 from 2 consecutive overs sandwiching a 17 run over from Siddle.

49 from 3 overs and the 100 partnership was reached off just 73 deliveries, wonderful stuff from the pair gave the Headingley crowd who had decided to turn u for what could have been no more than an hour’s play something to smile about. Out of nowhere England had just 25 minutes to survive until tea, one batsman with fifty and one just 8 runs away. Who’d have thunk it?

Wasn’t to be though, Stuart Broad holed out to Shane Watson on the deep square leg fence for 61 with more than 15 minutes left until lunch and all comparisons with 1981 were prematurely ended. Great stuff from the “new Flintoff” and England man of the match award secured. Swann followed him to fifty with six over fine leg, great knock from him too and some semblance of pride just about salvaged, but only for Broad and Swann. no amount of late order hitting could salvage anything from the top and in particular middle order failings.

England made it to lunch. A remarkable morning session for the paying public although the result was never going to be affected. 163 scored and the majority of them in entertaining fashion. There are few more enjoyable sights in cricket than tail enders, not that Broad and Swann fall into that category to be fair, scoring late runs with free abandon. 245-8 at lunch.

Swann finished with 62, caught behind 15 minutes after lunch giving Johnson his 4th wicket. Hotspot suggested he didn’t nick it but it really mattered not. Onions was the last man and completed his pair clean bowled giving 5 for Johnson and Australia the win by an innings and 80 runs.

Marcus North was named man of the match, interesting decision you’d think a bowler would have got it but I guess they all performed so well it would have been hard to single one of them out.

England humiliated. Stuart Broad, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann achieved pass marks but everyone else was, quite simply, pathetic showing no fight, no direction and no clue. The batting line up has to change for the Oval or it will be 2-1 Australia. With Bopara, Bell and Collingwood England have three number 5s in the line up which is wrong, wrong and wrong. They totalled 16 runs between them in two innings, Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower have a lot to think about.

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