England v Australia, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day July 21, 2013

England complete crushing four-day win


England 361 (Bell 109, Bairstow 67, Harris 5-72) and 349 for 7 dec (Root 180, Bell 74, Siddle 3-65) beat Australia 128 (Swann 5-44) and 235 (Khawaja 54, Clarke 51, Swann 4-78) by 347 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England secured a 2-0 lead in the Investec Ashes series as they completed an inevitable victory against Australia with relentless efficiency at the fag-end of the fourth day at Lord's. Australia were four balls away from taking the match into a fifth day, with England forced to take a second new ball, the extra half-hour and finally resorting to silent prayer before completing a 347-run win in the final over.

Before an impatient Lord's crowd, eager to tick a box marked victory and head home, Australia's last pair, James Pattinson and Ryan Harris, established Australia's second highest stand of the innings - 43 runs awash with defiance - before the offspin of Graeme Swann trapped Pattinson lbw.

At Trent Bridge, Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes registered the highest last-wicket partnership in Test history, and Australia's highest of the match. If only the batsmen could bat, they might make a fist of this series.

But Australia have lost six Tests in a row. England are vastly superior. It all feels like a reverse of 20 years ago. England are now the side in a golden era, able to relish high-class players and sound planning; Australia are a basket case.

Returning on Monday morning might have been a suitable mini-punishment for England after they self-indulgently batted on for 18 minutes on the fourth morning in a failed attempt to present Joe Root with a double century. He fell attempting a ramp shot with nine men on the boundary, leaving Ryan Harris with praiseworthy match figures of 7 for 103. Aside from his wonderful innings, the manner of Root's dismissal was unique for an Ashes Test and is perhaps worthy of an Honours Board on its own.

England have four Ashes victories in a row, the strategy of dry pitches is working like a dream and Root's 180 emphasised the gulf between the sides. The youngest English player to make a Test hundred at Lord's, unsurprisingly he took the man-of-the-match award. "I've loved every minute of it," he said.

They made skilful use of a wearing Lord's surface, with Swann predictably to the fore, and with Root also making a cheery guest appearance to break the back of the Australia innings just before tea. Australia will be particularly disturbed that they have completed back-to-back wins without major contributions from the likes of Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen.

Australia have only straws to clutch at - Usman Khawaja acquitted himself responsibly at No. 3 to make his second Test half-century and their bowlers are displaying commendable spirit with both bat and ball - but only one side in Ashes history has ever won a series 3-2 after losing the first two Tests. England can surely assume the Ashes are as good as retained.

Only one Test side, also, has ever survived for 173 overs or more in the fourth innings to draw a match. That was England against South Africa in Durban in 1939 when a Timeless Test was abandoned after nine days so England could catch a boat home. Australia's task was to show they were not on a slow boat to nowhere, to transform a humiliation into a defeat respectable enough to keep body and soul together for the rest of the series.

That task will be made more difficult while the air remains thick with corporate emails. As Australia's players sought consolation in another defeat, Cricket Australia and their sacked coach, Micky Arthur, exchanged public statements and David Warner's manager felt obliged to distance Warner from his own brother after he made venomous comments about Shane Watson. It cannot get much worse.

Australia, bundled out for 128 first time around, were in disarray at 48 for 3 at lunch as they faced an entirely notional 583 to win. Swann led England's victory push. Expectation of turn was enough to befuddle Rogers, who left a straight one, and Hughes, who reviewed his lbw decision, only to be reminded that, in these days of DRS, lbws are possible for offspinners operating around the wicket even if they do not straighten the ball.

Before then, Watson fell in accustomed manner, lbw, this time hunted down by James Anderson. It was not the embarrassing exit of the first innings, when he planted his front pad and whipped across one and then compounded the error by wasting a review when stone dead. This time he was more respectably beaten by a ball that nipped back and, aware that there was no chance of a reprieve, shook his head mournfully at his batting partner, Rogers, and walked off.

Clarke, coming in at No 5, faced a familiar story: 36 for 3. The cricketing argument for him to bat at No. 4 is offset by the statistical evidence that when he does so it halves his average. He might have departed before lunch, too, when he came down the pitch to Swann, was beaten on the outside edge by one that did not turn, only for Matt Prior, equally deceived, to miss the stumping.

Root's memorable Lord's Test continued apace when he conjured up the wickets of Clarke and Khawaja shortly before tea, breaking their composed 98-run stand in a spell of 7-3-9-2. Clarke, Khawaja and Steve Smith all fell within the space of 21 deliveries.

Root, encouraging hopes that he could develop into the fifth bowler England need on spin-friendly surfaces, found extravagant turn out of the rough to dismiss Clarke, but his dismissal was a soft one as he tickled a ball down the leg side to be caught by Alastair Cook at leg slip. Khawaja put up staunch resistance but followed in Root's next over when he pushed at a ball that turned and edged gently to James Anderson at gully.

Nevertheless, there was enough in Khawaja's approach to suggest that he intends to battle for the right to become Australia's long-term No. 3. He carried the fight against some short bowling from Stuart Broad immediately after lunch, in contrast to Clarke, who was struck on the shoulder and helmet in quick succession by the same bowler. He also blocked Swann out of the footholds with determination.

Swann was a touch hampered by a lower-back injury, caused when Khawaja accidentally collided with him when dashing a single to the bowler's end, and although he regularly found pronounced turn out of the footholds, with the ball travelling more than once straight to slip or gully, he required painkillers and after 17 overs eventually gave way to Root.

Smith's departure to the last ball before tea - the batsman unsuccessfully reviewing after he had been caught at the wicket off a thin inside nick against Tim Bresnan - completed a deflating end to the session after Australia's top-order batsmen had shown as much application as at any time in the series.

Australia's frustrations were compounded by further issues over DRS after tea. Brad Haddin was adjudged lbw to Swann as he padded up to one that turned from around the wicket and then Agar's brief cut and thrust through point - the area where he lives or dies - was silenced when England successfully turned to the review system to win a catch at the wicket off Bresnan.

The TV umpire, Tony Hill, upheld it on noise (and Snicko supported him) but there was no mark on Hot Spot, inviting more grumbles from traditionalists wedded to a simpler time when an on-field umpire's decision was law. Simpler times have gone for ever. And, in Australian cricket, there are more pressing things to carp about.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dhumper on July 25, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    @HZO and Fguy: As I mentioned earlier, I don't go by stats alone as it doesn't tell the whole story - but if you really insist, I dug up stats from summer of 2011 till today. Not counting draws, India 10 wins 10 losses, Pak 8 wins 5 losses. So even by stats Pak have better win ratio! (and remember UAE is not even real 'home')

    @cric-J India got hammered 8-0 because of batting failures combined with poor bowling. To my earlier comment - bowlers win test games combined with even average batting. Average bowling and good batting will get you draws but getting 20 wickets won't be easily possible. No doubt India is recovering but it will be a while before they get their bowling act together to string along good batting and beat teams like SA. Pak bowlers can do that in UAE if their batsmen put a decent score. That's why I say we are in a much better position to challenge them. Eng seems to have learned to play spin so they are up there too with their all around bowling attack.

  • H on July 25, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Also worth pointing out that India's team is, like Australia's, in transition. They are in the process of discarding the older players and bringing in younger ones.

    And they've got some good ones. Dhawan's a quality batsman. I don't care how bad Australia's batting is, their bowling's good, and Dhawan made it look ordinary. They have the likes of Kohli and Pujara almost making you forget that this is a side that's lost VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid in the last few years.

    I'm curious to see how Kumar goes in more seam-friendly conditions than he's had so far in his Test career. He has tours to South Africa and New Zealand coming up, so I won't have to wait too long to find out.

    Obviously I do believe India are behind England at the moment, based on the Tests they've recently played against each other, but India tour South Africa later on this year (at the same time as the Ashes; which to watch?!) and that will give us a real gauge. South Africa are the benchmark for everyone else.

  • John on July 24, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    @Dhumper on (July 24, 2013, 4:23 GMT) I think you have to take into consideration the opposition played etc and I think India have only lost to the other top 4 sides in recent years. Unfortunately India and Pakistan don't play tests against each other these days and Pakistan's away form (provided we say UAE is their home) has not been too smart in recent years. I'm certainly not saying Pakistan aren't capable of being number 2 but right now it's a 3 team (becoming 2) way battle for the spot and Pakistan have to play/beat better sides more often

    HZO and Cric-J have been more thorough in their reasoning

  • Shanmugam on July 24, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    @Dhumper, JG2704, cric_J, H_Z_O, and fguy have said whatever I wanted to say. As cric_J correctly points out, even with poor bowlers, you stand a chance to draw a game if you have good batsmen. In addition, with good batsmen you also have the option to post big scores and apply scoreboard pressure on the opposition even with mediocre bowlers. That pressure can do a lot of things. Take SA's last 2 tours to India for instance - both the times they easily won the first encounter only to succumb to scoreboard pressure in the last test and come back only with a share of the spoils. The last time, Indian batsmen posted a 600+ score in Kolkata and then even with their ordinary bowlers they managed to tame the mighty SA batting line-up. When was the last time Pak. scored 500 in an innings?

    Bottomline is this - Pak. are in no better position than India to challenge SA for the #1 crown.

  • t on July 24, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    @Dhumper first you quote some stats to show India are poor then you say India are only superior bcoz of some stats?? against SA, let alone win a single game, Pak didnt even put up a fight & they're "competing" against them for the top spot? whereas last time India was there (not too long ago - '10/11) they played against pretty much the same side & came away with a very credible 1-1 result. even the 3rd match was a closely fought match with India on top till a very good Kallis innings & then a Gambhir/SRT partnership led to a draw. you mention a win in a 3 match odi bilateral series where Pak won by the grand margin of 1 match but dismiss a ICC world tournament played in a neutral country where India beat all teams that they played against unlike Pak who didnt even win 1 game. As Aus are showing just having a bowling attack isnt enough you need batsmen too. by current form in tests SA are by far the #1. Eng are easily #2. then its between Aus & India (both strong at home but not away)

  • H on July 24, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Pakistan's record in the last 10 Tests is not 6-4. You can't count draws as wins. The record is 4 won, 4 lost, 2 draws. That includes a home series against England and a trip to Bangladesh. Away to Sri Lanka, Pakistan lost. Away to South Africa, Pakistan lost. Their away record over the last 5 years stands at 3 series wins, 2 series draws and 5 series defeats.

    South Africa are undefeated in away series in the last 5 years. They've won 6 series and drawn one. England's away record in the last 5 years stands at 3 series wins, 3 series draws and 2 series defeats. Even India's away record is better than Pakistan over the same period; 3 series wins, 2 series draws (in Sri Lanka and South Africa, where Pakistan have lost their most recent tours) and 3 series defeats.

    And why look at India's stats "besides Ind-Aus series" yet include the Pak-Eng one? Both are home series against sides that don't play spin well. India's true record in their last 10 Tests is 7 won, 2 lost, 1 draw.

  • shashwata on July 24, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    (cont) But India do have greater chances of being no. 3 than Pakistan because they have better batsmen and eventhough Pak have better bowlers.

    Pakistan lost 3-0 to SA despite bowling decently. I expect India to do better than that atleast , a 2-0 loss maybe , just by BATTING better and even if they bowl poorly as usual.

    It could be a highly unlikely 2-1 or 1-0 loss as well but they will have to actually BAT really well for that , the way they did the last time they toured SA.

  • shashwata on July 24, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    (cont...) Agreed that India were poor with the ball throughout their 8-0 away losing record and while losing 2-1 to England at home. But the biggest reason why they lost was because they batted poorly , pathetically. I can bet that had they just batted better in those matches even with that sort of poor bowling they would have atleast drawn 2-3 of those 8 losses.

    India have never been known to have a strong bowling side but have still done well barring the 8-0 loss and the 2-1 to England. Before that they did well overseas in SA and Eng as well even when they didn't have top quality bowlers.

    Take England in UAE. They bowled extremely well and shot out Pakistan for meagre totals a couple of times , but what happened ? They lost ! Due to poor batting.

    Pakistan , IMO is far from getting to no. 3 , let alone getting to no.1. SA clearly have the best side except for a good spinner. England are the next most balanced side. All other sides are poor in 1 of the 2 areas. (cont)

  • shashwata on July 24, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @Dhumper : " Bowlers win you tests and batsmen win you ODIs ". And I thought the entire team had to do well to win any game of cricket !

    Had things been the way you say then Australia, who have a decent bowling lineup would surely not have ended up losing 6 tests in a row ! We saw that even after having England in trouble by picking up early wickets , Australia still lost both the matches. That is they bowled well , but still lost because of poor batting.

    A team with good bowlers and poor batsmen (like Pak , NZ and Aus ) is likely to lose far more matches than a team with good batsmen and poor bowlers (like India) and the rankings show that. If you have good batsman and poor bowlers , you have a decent chance of getting draws atleast. While if you have poor batsmen , even draws would be difficult to get. The fact that India got to no. 1 in tests despite not having very good bowlers and Pakistan didn't despite having them , proves this.


  • Dhumper on July 24, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    @JG2704 - If you talk stats India's record in last 2 years is 4-4 besides Ind-Aus series. I don't think that deserves a 2nd rank

    @Shan156 - Why I think Pak is better than India or some other teams in Test - again Pak is 6-4 in last 10 test matches including SA series!! Besides I have nothing against India but remember Bowlers win Tests and Batsmen win ODIs. India's joke of a bowling attack can't win games outside India. And Eng proved they can be beaten even at home! Pak has a world class bowling capable of dismantling any test line up.

    We can keep on going but the bottom line - in my opinion rankings are screwed. For now only Pak and Eng can challenge SA's dominance.