Some remarkable 10th-wicket partnerships in the first Test went some way to disguising the failures of our top order, but there was nowhere to hide at Lord's.
Where we stand
With our tail between our legs.
Mercifully, Australia were required to bowl for just 4.1 more overs in the morning on day four. Michael Clarke pushed the field back to slow Joe Root's charge to a double ton and the English opener responded with a crazy scoop shot that flew to Steve Smith at third man. Satisfied England could defend a 582-run lead, Alastair Cook called the innings to a close and sent the Aussies in to bat.
By the lunch break it was clear the tourists wouldn't be grinding out a draw on the fifth day. By that time the Aussies three wickets down for not much, having lost both openers and Phil Hughes for a combined 27 runs. Clarke and Usman Khawaja showed promise in keeping England at bay into the afternoon, but when both fell shortly after reaching their half-centuries the writing was on the wall.
Bluffers' guide: "Umm, so everything will be alright once we get Dave Warner back in the side, won't it?"
Four things we learned
1. Shane Watson may as well have a bullseye on his front pad. The Aussie opener was dismissed LBW for the second time this Test, the third time in four innings this series and the 24th time in his 77 Test knocks. And wasn't he plumb, too. Thankfully he chose not to review and was on his way after a brief word with Chris Rogers.
2. Phil Hughes is still troubled by spin. The 24-year-old looked completely outmatched by Graeme Swann on the fizzing Lord's wicket, too troubled even to score more than one run from his 21 deliveries before being trapped in front.
3. Usman Khawaja should get a reprieve. Australia's No.3 showed enough in the second dig to warrant his inclusion in the third Test, compiling a patient 54 runs from 133 deliveries in trying conditions. Swann probed and probed in the rough at Khawaja's feet, with as many as four fielders in close, but the batsman endured. Swann eventually got his man, but the ease with which Khawaja had navigated his spin up until that point surely did not escape Darren Lehmann's attention.
4. Australia need to bat like there is no one left in the shed. Once again it was the 10th-wicket stand in the final innings that delivered serious runs for the Aussies, further embarrassing the top order. James Pattinson and Ryan Harris added 43 runs for the final stand to take Australia's 10th-wicket tally to 295 runs for the series.
Hero of the day
The England off spinner was always going to have a field day towards the end of the Test and while he failed to get a second five-wicket haul for the match, he was only denied by the success Joe Root was having as England's second spin option.
Moments that mattered
1. ROOT GONE IN A FLASH. It took just 4.1 overs for the Aussies to dismiss Joe Root on day four, the English opener falling for 180 after attempting to get under a length Ryan Harris delivery and scoop it over the keeper for four. It was a strange, unsatisfactory end to such a wonderful innings.
2. WATSON DOESN'T CHALLENGE. In almost a carbon copy of his first innings, Shane Watson motored along to 20 from 23 balls before sticking his big front pad out to a Jimmy Anderson delivery that nipped in and had him dead to rights. This time the Aussie opener chose not waste a review, instead walking back to the pavilion with a sour look on his face.
3. PUP'S FOCUS DESERTS HIM. Michael Clarke's demeanour upon reaching his half-century was telling. The skipper barely paused to shake Usman Khawaja's hand and very briefly acknowledged the crowd's applause before resuming guard at the striker's end. He looked like a man on a mission. Unfortunately that resolve didn't last much longer, with Clarke sent on his way after getting a tickle on a fairly average Joe Root delivery down the leg side the very next over.
4. ONE MORE CONTROVERSIAL REVIEW. The match may not have been as tight as Trent Bridge, but that didn't stop the questionable decisions. Umpire Marais Erasmus adjudged Ashton Agar not out as the English appealed for a caught behind decision off Tim Bresnan. Alastair Cook sent it upstairs and despite hot spot failing to show any evidence of a nick he was given out. Please let this be the last time we feel the need to mention DRS this series.
Caught our eye
Usman Khawaja gave Graeme Swann something to think about shortly after lunch, collecting the English offie with a well-timed bump while charging through for a quick single. Swann, who had planted himself in the non-striker's crease while waiting for the throw from midwicket, never saw Khawaja coming and was sent tumbling to the ground, causing much mirth in the commentary box. Of course the entire incident was almost certainly an accident, though we are fairly certain the Australian dressing room would've enjoyed Swann copping it all the same.
Soundtrack of the day
"Don't Dream It's Over" – Crowded House
'There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost.'
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 22 July, 2013 6:39AM AEDT