Ashes 2013: Appalling Australians fall apart but England join second Test carnage

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

England close on 31 for 3 - a lead of 264

Lord's

Sometime around the middle of the afternoon an awful hypothesis occurred. It was that no-one in Australia can bat anymore. On a perfect summer’s day, on a blameless pitch at the world’s greatest sports arena, they imploded.

The tourists’ first innings in the Second Test of the Ashes series was a catalogue of carelessness, neglect, farce and plain stupidity. Perhaps they were overawed by the surroundings and the occasion, perhaps England’s bowling was so relentlessly probing that they felt there was nowhere to go.

But the assertion, repeated like a mantra, that everything is hunky dory in their dressing room looked just a little wide of the mark. In being bowled out for 128 in under four hours they demonstrated the durability of mayflies and the rigour of truants.

Graeme Swann took five wickets in an innings for the 16 time and the second at Lord’s. Incisively as he bowled, he could not have asked for more help from Australia had he approached them with a begging bowl saying he was down to his last wicket, guv’nor, and needed some help urgently.

In the evening of the second day of the match, sponsored by Investec, England compounded the high jinks by contriving to lose three wickets in their second innings. Could anyone anywhere bat anymore? The Test is moving along at a rapid pace which is belying a blameless pitch.

England extended their lead to 264. Nothing is impossible in cricket but for Australia to win and level the series would not only take a monumental comeback but also require England to play for two days with a similarly cavalier attitude.

It was so blatantly wretched that some people were probably calling for the dismissal of the coach. But Australia have already tried that once on this tour.

The litany of disaster embraced miscalculated strokes, misuse of the review system, mistimed running between the wickets and an incomprehensible change to the batting order. To suggest that these were schoolboy errors is a calumny. Just William was smarter than this and had a much straighter bat.

The day started wonderfully for Australia and they must have felt then that they were well in the match. They took a wicket with the first ball when the exemplary Ryan Harris moved one up the slope which Tim Bresnan edged behind.

Things started to go slightly awry after the removal shortly after of Jimmy Anderson when, by common consent, England were still around 100 runs short of what they might have expected given the blissful conditions. For the third time in the series, the tenth wicket pair made a nonsense of their status.

Swann and Stuart Broad sensibly went for their shots, hitting through the line and driving jauntily away to add 48 from 40 balls. It was annoying for Australia, as these late flurries inevitably are, but hardly a portent of what was to come.

Indeed, their opening pair, Shane Watson and Chris Rogers started with such assurance that they looked determined to keep England in the field until tomorrow. The catalyst for all that followed came in the last over before lunch when Watson was lbw to a ball from Tim Bresnan which moved in at him and beat him as he played across his front pad.

Instead of accepting the verdict, Watson decided to review it. To general expectation the replay showed that the ball was indeed hitting the stumps about halfway up. Watson had to go.

The gravity of his appeal became truly apparent only when Chris Rogers received a waist high full toss from Swann, the ball slipping from the bowler’s hand. Rogers, eyes doubtless on stalks at this tasty morsel, swung across the line, missed and was hit in the groin.

Umpire Marais Erasmus upheld England’s appeal and Rogers, probably realising that Watson, had already used up one of the two reviews, turned and went. Replays showed the ball was missing leg stump by several inches.

The mood was now set. Phil Hughes, coming in at four when he had done well at six at Trent Bridge, flailed wildly outside the off stump and reviewed the decision for a catch behind when the wretchedness of such an ill-conceived shot alone should have persuaded to keep his counsel. Usman Khawaja, the new number three, having been dropped at slip off Swann, launched into a drive and was caught high at mid-off.

Then, Steve Smith, in at six instead of five, was sharply held by Ian Bell at short leg, Michael Clarke, returning to the relative comfort of number five, was lbw to a peach of from Broad, going with the slope.

But nothing embodied the mess more than Ashton Agar’s dismissal. When Brad Hadding nudged a ball to square leg, Agar set off fir a run in which his partner showed not the slightest interest. Agar kept coming. Matt Prior scurried across and threw the ball to the bowler’s end where Jimmy Anderson whipped off the bails.

Twenty years ago on this ground, Australa made 632 for 4 in their first innings. The top three all made hundreds, the number four 99 and the next man in another fifty. To play in the shadow of a side that has achieved so much is difficult for lesser players but this was a limp approach to the playing of Test cricket which undermined a valiant bowling effort, not least by Harris who became the 22 Australian to take five wickets in an innings in an Ashes match at Lord’s.

All that was left for Australia to do was to restore some dignity. This they managed with distinction in the evening sunshine. Peter Siddle steamed in as usual from the Pavilion End and induced both Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott to play on to their stumps with rather wooden shots. Kevin Pietersen played a bizarrely loose drive to point and no day could have made a more trenchant statement about the general state of Test batsmanship.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor