Australia are on the brink of succumbing to the worst performance by our cricketers in an England Ashes series, following their defeat in the fourth Test in Durham. Another batting collapse sparked Australia’s demise, giving England a 74-run victory and unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.


Australia were set 299-runs in their second innings on the fourth day, having earlier bowled England out on the back of some fine bowling by Ryan Harris. The Aussies made a promising start, with an unbroken opening stand of 109 between David Warner and Chris Rogers suggesting we were capable of squaring the series. However as has happened all too regularly in recent times, Australia capitulated with victory within their grasp to be all-out for 224.


England, who had already retained the Ashes following the draw at Old Trafford in the last Test, ripped through the Australian order in the final session of the day. Stuart Broad the chief destroyer taking 6-50, including 6-20 in the space of eight overs, to give him figures of 11-121 for the match.


Australian captain Michael Clarke couldn’t hide his disappointment after his side’s meek surrender from a seemingly match-winning position. “It’s extremely disappointing,” Clarke said. “I guess I know now what it feels like to lose an Ashes series as a captain.”

Having avoided a record-equalling seventh successive lost in the last Test at Old Trafford, Clarke’s side now face the unflattering prospect of being Australia’s worst performed touring squad in Ashes history by becoming the first side to lose four Ashes Tests in England.


“I knew there had to be a statistic,” Clarke said. “I won’t even think about it. I want to win the Test match because it is a Test match. The statistics don’t bother me.


“I have been part of a lot of records and a lot of them of late have not been great. We will try to win this Test. If we get outplayed and lose the Test match that is what happens in this game.”


Australia were unlucky to draw the last Test, with inclement weather cruelling their hopes of a probable victory. However they’ve no one but themselves to blame after a host of soft dismissals handed England victory in four days.


The tourists seem set to go into the final Test at the Oval beginning next week match fielding a similar line-up with the Australian skipper, while no longer a selector, admitting there were no obvious replacements to come into the side.


“I think we are picking the best players,” Clarke said. “Everyone says rebuild, rebuild, rebuild but you need guys in first-class cricket making runs to take someone’s spot.


“You can’t just drop someone if there is no one better to take their spot.  We have to continue to show faith in young players in Australia.”


Damien Bellemore