Ashes Tour matches
Aussies disappoint in Northants draw
Tourists avoid being bowled out thanks to Cummins, Lyon after latest top-order collapse in Northampton
17 August 2015, 08:00 AM AEST
Australia have suffered another batting collapse on their Ashes tour, this time against Northamptonshire in a drawn tour game.
Pat Cummins finished 82 not out, his 98-run stand with Nathan Lyon ensuring Australia avoided being bowled out in Northampton.
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Durham were the most recent county side to force Australia to follow on, in 1993.
Earlier on Sunday it looked like Northants might end that streak.
Watch all nine Australian wickets to fall
The three-day clash was supposed to be a tune-up for the fifth Test, which starts at the Oval on Thursday.
The skipper, vice captain and chairman of selectors talk // Getty Images
Instead it proved to be a source of further disappointment for a squad that relinquished the urn last week.
Day one was washed out and day two was dominated by Northamptonshire, the locals scoring freely and quickly.
Cummins top-scored for the visitors, while Mitch Marsh scored 68 after a woeful top-order collapse of 5-74.
Pat Cummins hits a six off the last ball // Getty Images
Cummins and Lyon pushed Australia's innings into a third session, but both were given a chance early.
Australia finished 9-312 in response to the hosts' 396.
George Munsey put down a straightforward catch at point when Lyon was on 17, while Cummins was yet to score when Josh Cobb dropped a catch at first slip.
The visitors resumed on Sunday at 1-13.
They continued to look a side low on motivation, playing a match devoid of meaning.
Steve Smith after making a duck // Getty Images
It started with Steve Smith.
The 26-year-old will assume the captaincy after the fifth Test, but was leading the side in the fixture as Michael Clarke was rested.
Smith lasted six balls before prodding at a delivery from Maurice Chambers, the resultant edge flying to keeper David Murphy.
Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges were also out edging, while Shane Watson was trapped lbw by Ben Sanderson.
Shane Watson was given out lbw // Getty Images
It came against an inexperienced Northamptonshire attack, hardly a harbinger of hope for the tourists as they prepare to face Stuart Broad, and possibly James Anderson, in London.
It's not the first time the East Midlands town has been a source of angst for Australia.
Marsh, Voges and Watson watch on // Getty Images
Northamptonshire forced Don Bradman's 1930 tourists to follow on, while Bishen Bedi's left-arm spin helped them defeat Ian Chappell's side in 1972.
Mitch Marsh, who is expected to be recalled for the upcoming dead rubber against England, ensured Australia at least avoided another embarrassingly low total.
The 23-year-old looked comfortable at the crease and struck 11 boundaries before attempting to drive another off paceman Richard Gleeson.
The allrounder had already underlined his importance to the XI with a haul of 4-56.
Mitch Marsh has underlined his importance to Australia with a four-wicket haul in Northampton, but an Aussie-born allrounder stole the show on day two
Coach Darren Lehmann admitted last week it was a mistake to leave him out of the XI that lost by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge.