England fell 2-0 behind in the Ashes series today after losing the second Test by 218 runs. The tourists lost their last four wickets for 65 in under 12 overs on the fifth morning.
There was a fighting but meaningless 69 from Matt Prior, his first Test half century in 18 innings over almost nine months. But the nature of England’s woeful exhibition was embodied by Stuart Broad’s thoughtless dismissal in the day’s first over.
Broad hooked his second ball from Peter Siddle for six and in attempting to repeat the stroke next ball was caught inside the boundary. Since his team were nominally trying to save the match and there was rain in the air it was the height of folly.
It brought to 19 the number of England wickets to have fallen in this series to catches on the leg side. England continued in full attacking mode as Prior accelerated to 69 with an array of strokes on all sides of the wicket.
He and Graeme Swann put on a brisk 38 for the eighth wicket from 40 balls. It came to end when Swann parried Ryan Harris to second slip where Michael Clarke took the catch.
Prior then essayed another hook and was caught low down at deep backward square leg. There seemed no attempt or desire by England to keep the Australians waiting as long as possible for the inevitable victory.
The match mercifully concluded when Monty Panesar drove to short cover. England were all out for 312. The third Test starts on Friday at Perth. It is the home ground of Mitchell Johnson, the destroyer in chief in this match and it is impossible to be anything other than deeply pessimistic about England’s prospects.