Australia wins to level Ashes series
21 July, 2015, 12:00 am
LONDON – Australia delivered a “kick in the teeth” to England at Lord’s, squaring the Ashes series in a fashion that had Alastair Cook scrambling for answers.
Michael Clarke’s men made it four consecutive days of domination to post a 405-run victory in the second Test, skittling England for 103 in just 37 overs on Sunday. The embarrassment came after Clarke and his colleagues added 146 runs in 23 overs during the morning session.
Man of the match Steve Smith scored 58 off 48 balls with a combination of trick shots and power strokes, further demoralising England’s quicks on a supposedly docile pitch.
Worse was to come after Clarke’s pre-lunch declaration at 2-254.
Mitchell Johnson claimed the vital scalp of Cook amid a top order collapse of 5-40 in the middle session. Johnson sent down a double-wicket maiden after tea, both dismissals earned through express pace. The meek manner in which England capitulated, coupled with Smith’s maiden double-century, will further boost Australia’s confidence as they seek to go 2-1 up at Edgbaston on July 29.
The turnaround from Australia’s 169-run loss at Cardiff could hardly be more emphatic.
Now it is England’s batting, bowling, fielding and selectors under immense scrutiny.
“Today was the icing on the cake for them and for us a real kick in the teeth,” Cook conceded.
“To get bowled out on that kind of wicket for 103 is not good enough. Not acceptable. Not up to the standard that the guys can play.
“From the first morning they got on top of us and never let us back in the game.”
Clarke believed Australia’s excellence had more to do with the result than England’s ineptitude.
“The boys were switched on. I sensed that hunger, from the senior players in particular,” Clarke said.