McGrath shatters England to put Harmison heroics in perspective

Australia 190 - England 92-7

The members were toasting the achievement of England's spearhead and revelling in Australian woe. Everyone at the home of cricket believed they had witnessed one of the finest displays of fast bowling seen at the ground.

Indeed they had. But better was to come, in the final session of the day, when Glenn McGrath, with surgical precision, removed England's top five batsmen in a 31-ball spell which conceded only two runs. It was breathtaking stuff, and it made fools of those who were prepared to write the 35-year-old off as a spent force at the start of Australia's tour of England.

When McGrath knocked back Andrew Flintoff's off-stump with a vicious nip backer, the legendary seamer had claimed his third five-wicket haul in three Test matches at this venue, and England had been reduced to 21 for 5. And, as the home teams middle and lower order frantically sought their batting gear, Harmison's heroics began to feel like a distant memory.

On a dry pitch, which is already showing signs of inconsistent bounce, Australia's paltry total was now looking like a match-winning score. England still required 32 runs to take them past their lowest total against Australia - 52 at The Oval in 1948. But the debutant, Kevin Pietersen, and Geraint Jones did just this with a robust and skilful 58-run partnership.

McGrath, with the fantastic figures of 5-21 in 13 overs, was replaced by Brett Lee at the Pavilion End and the firebrand removed Jones with a well-directed bouncer which he spliced to the keeper. Ashley Giles should have followed, when he gloved a snorter to short leg, but the umpire, Aleem Dar, deemed Lee had put his foot over the front line.

Giles failed to make his good fortune count and trod on his wicket when facing the final ball of an exceptional day. Australia's players gathered in a huddle to congratulate each other as Giles, and the unbeaten Pietersen, trudged off to a disconsolate dressing-room.

England, on 92-7, are not out of this game. A few lusty blows from Pietersen this morning will quickly reduce the 98-run deficit. But Vaughan's side need to get close to Australia's first-innings total - and batting last on this pitch will not be easy.

In years to come Marcus Trescothick will probably look back on his dismissal with pride. There was little the left-hander could do about the off-cutter which jagged across him and took the edge of his bat. A jubilant Justin Langer, fielding at third slip, threw the ball in the air while his team-mates engulfed their hero.

In the build-up to the Test, ingenuous members of Vaughan's side had encouraged England supporters to get stuck in to the Aussies, but it was magnificent to see Lord's rise to its feet to salute McGrath's 500th Test wicket.

And it did not take long for McGrath to start edging his way to 600, as Andrew Strauss nibbled at a good-length ball and was caught by Shane Warne at first slip.

Before each series the New South Welshman publicly names the opposition batsmen he is after, and on this tour it has been Strauss and Vaughan. With Strauss gone, McGrath turned his focus to Vaughan - and in his seventh over he got his man. The reaction of the England captain suggested that the ball kept low, and it did a little, but not as much as he thought. It clipped the top of his off stump.

Ian Bell chopped on in McGrath's next over, and when Flintoff departed a sombre mood had descended on Lord's.

Harmison may not yet have the control of McGrath but he was a fearsome proposition with the new ball. The Durham paceman showed his intent with the second ball of the day, which struck Justin Langer painfully on the right elbow. But Langer and his opening partner Matthew Hayden, who was struck on the head by Harmison, regained their composure and set about making the most of Ricky Ponting's decision to bat.

Matthew Hoggard struggled to control a swinging new ball on an overcast morning but got the last ball of his fourth over on the spot, and it knocked back Hayden's off-stump.

Ponting became the third Australian to call for assistance when he was struck on the visor by another brutish delivery from Harmison. The blow put a one-inch gash in the right cheek of the Australian captain, but after five minutes of treatment he batted on.

But the disorientated Ponting did not last long, and Harmison showed no mercy when he produced a delightful leg cutter to dismiss him.

Flintoff replaced his close friend at the Pavilion End and with his fourth ball in Ashes cricket he claimed the scalp of Langer. The Australian opener had been in positive mood but an ill-advised pull at the England all-rounder proved costly.

Simon Jones made an even quicker impact than Flintoff when he took the wicket of Damien Martyn with his first ball, and Michael Clarke soon followed when he was trapped in front by the fired-up Welshman. At lunch Australia, amazingly, were on 97 for 5.

Adam Gilchrist has consistently taken Australia out of perilous positions with his fearless and unique style, and Australia's plight failed to stop him going for his shots. The left-hander's 19-ball innings of 26 contained six boundaries, but his fun ended when he edged Flintoff through to Geraint Jones. Simon Katich and Shane Warne battled until Harmison returned. Warne was bowled behind his legs, Katich was caught pulling, Lee was caught off an inside edge and Jason Gillespie trapped plum in front.

Harmison will need to do the same again today if England are to end 71 years of pain against Australia at the home of cricket.

Life and Style
LifeReddit asked a simple question with infinite answers this week
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Life and Style
beauty
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice