By Stephen Giles

  • Australia level the series after crushing the hosts at Lord’s
  • Tourists declared to set England 509 to win.
  • England all out for 103

LONDON, UKEngland surrendered to an appalling defeat by 405 runs at Lord’s as Australia levelled the Ashes series at 1-1.

The hosts meekly capitulated after lunch on the fourth day and were all-out for 103 in just 37 overs, with Mitchell Johnson taking 3-27.

Australia had earlier reached 254-2 declared in their second innings, on what was still a beautiful batting strip and left England needing a notional 509 to win, but more importantly, to bat 155 overs and save the match.

Let’s not forget, traditionally, the Lord’s pitch rarely deteriorates, it has played flawlessly throughout. If you play yourself in, you will score runs. Teams like Sri Lanka and South Africa have been able to secure noteworthy draws in the last few years on this very ground. England timidly fell apart.

Stuart Broad top scored with 25, that’s how bad a day it was. This was England’s third heaviest runs-margin defeat and the ninth biggest defeat ever. What a week which cancels out everything good that England achieved in Cardiff barely more than a week ago.

After another top order collapse, the England selectors will now seriously have to contemplate changes before the series resumes at Edgbaston, Birmingham on 29 July.

While the hosts were frail, the tourists were downright ruthless, sending Alastair Cook and coaches Trevor Bayliss & Paul Fairbrace back to the drawing board to figure out how they go about things in Birmingham, as the Aussies ripped their side apart and reminded everyone why they were hot favourites ahead of the series.

They started the day with one thing in mind, smash the runs and win the Test, and they did so with the utmost ease, but not before Chris Rogers was forced to retire hurt after suffering a dizzy spell, just two days after he was struck on the back of the head from a James Anderson delivery.

Australia then bludgeoned 146 runs off 23 overs, declared and put the hosts into bat.

England were able to survive the 10 minutes before lunch to reach seven without loss, Adam Lyth getting off a pair, to afford him the humiliation.

The lunch break presumably gave England a chance to gather their thoughts and brace themselves for the onslaught awaiting them.

What was said in the changing room obviously did not transfer to the field as the floodgates well and truly opened. Johnson tempted a dreadful shot from Cook. Lyth and Gary Ballance were all soon caught behind too, as England found themselves in the mire.

Ian Bell’s Test place, a bit like his batting in the second innings, led a charmed life as he battled 50 balls for 11 before edging a Nathan Lyon delivery to short leg.

Ben Stokes then threw his wicket away in bizarre circumstances that you’re only ever likely to see on a primary school playground at lunch time. Running through for an easy single, he got back to the crease comfortably before Johnson’s throw came in and knocked over the stumps.

Unsympathetically, Stokes forgot to slide his bat into the crease and was stranded in mid-air when the ball hit, meaning he had to trot back to the dressing room.

In the space of five balls, five wickets had become seven as Johnson ripped out Jos Buttler, who nicked behind before Moeen Ali flinched with all the fight in the world at a bouncer and looped a catch off the bat to short leg.

Broad fleetingly flung the bat to amass several boundaries but when he chipped Lyon to cover, England were teetering on 101-8.

Joe Root  was soon back in the pavilion himself when he was clean bowled by Josh Hazelwood, who then finished England’s dismal innings by relocating Anderson’s stumps to seal the victory. Australia were absolutely jubilant and Lord’s fell eerily silent.

Much has been said about the lack of pace in the pitch; it was all immaterial really, primarily because of the skill and hostility of the Aussie threesome of Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood.

Nothing summed up Australia’s overpowering dominance more than the figure of Mitchell Johnson, indicating he should be viewed as a brilliant fast bowler rather than a pantomime rogue.

Awesome bowling from the tourists which ultimately proved too much to handle for England and spells out an ominous message for the rest of this Ashes series.

The Investec Ashes 3rd Test Match live from Birmingham begins at 11am, Wednesday 29th July – Follow via the Britwatch Live Score Service.

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