England Claim The Ashes Series with Victory in Durham
From a promising position on day four of the fourth Ashes test at Chester le Street, Durham, Australia’s batting disintegrated and succumbed to another defeat to England.
This result gives England the series, having already retained the Ashes with the draw at Old Trafford and leaving Australia with only pride to play for at the Oval next week.
The fourth test swung both ways, with England and Australia taking the advantage at different times, much like most of the series so far. Australia established a first innings lead of 32 in a relatively low scoring match. But it should have been more. Opener Chris Rogers picked up his maiden test century, with some dogged determination and batting. Shane Watson scored 68 coming in at number six. But very few others made much of a contribution to the total, with three of the top five not making double figures.
Australia’s attack once again performed better than their batsmen and dismissed England for 330 in the second innings, giving Australia an achievable target of 299 and the best part of two whole days to get them. England’s total was mainly the result of another superb century from Ian Bell and some handy runs from Tim Bresnan, once again coming in as the night watchmen and Graham Swann’s unbeaten 30 boosting the tail.
The second innings for Australia started really well, with an opening partnership of 109. But things quickly fell away from there. Khawaja and Clarke both made only 21 and Stuart Broad broke the hearts of the Australian batsmen with two sensational balls to dismiss Clarke and the dangerous wicketkeeper Haddin. From there the writing was on the wall. Peter Siddle contributed a gutsy 23 but he was never going to make the required 118 remaining runs with Australia’s weakened tail.
Although Australia have been competitive in this series, with the exception of the Lords Test, the batting line up is fragile and unreliable. Many of the batsmen have limited test experience, but even established players like Clarke and Watson have been hit and miss and it is the missing which has been the problem.
England have a strong bowling attack, but they have not been as consistent in this series as in recent years. James Anderson has hit a poor run of form since the first test at Trent Bridge and some of the Aussie batsmen have blunted Graham Swann’s edge.
So can Australia restore some pride with a win at the Oval?
Cameron Rose at The Roar has the interesting idea of making the Australian top order flexible in terms of the order that they come in and alternating left and right handed batsmen, so that the England bowlers do not get settled. Do you think bringing Clarke in at three after a big opening partnership could improve things?
If not, do you think there is any hope of redemption with the current squad?