What a disaster: There goes the Ashes!

Date: August 8, 2015 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell

Britain Cricket England Australia Ashes

It took less than 100 minutes to disassemble Australia’s batting line-up on day one at Trent Bridge.

Like a modern day Midas, Stuart Broad claimed an incredible 8-15 off 9.3 overs.

It was a good thing that Nottingham specialist James Anderson was injured. Australia’s humiliation lasted just 111 deliveries – the quickest dismissal of any XI in history in the first innings of a Test.

Following the back slapping and high-fives at Lord’s where the tourists leveled at 1-all, Australia has batted like novices.

After being blasted out on the first day at Edgbaston for 136 the depths reached at Trent Bridge would make a veteran speleologist proud.

Unlike Michael Clarke at Birmingham, Alastair Cook inserted Australia.

Insertion soon became extraction as Australia’s specialist batsmen imitated lemmings. It appeared little had been learned from the third Test debacle.

Yes, the conditions – both pitch and atmospheric – were favourable but Australia also aided its own demise. Footwork was both errant and hesitant and deliveries that should have been eschewed were sparred at.

In the space of his first 19 balls Broad had claimed five wickets – he started with Chris Rogers and Steve Smith in the opening over of the match.

Pre-series Smith’s idiosyncratic technique was questioned by the likes of Graeme Swann. After Lord’s and his imperious 215 it appeared the naysayers had been silenced but since then he has displayed a technical flaw.

As was the case at Edgbaston, Smith played a ball well wide off-stump only to nick it to Joe Root at third slip. It was a delivery that a number three should have allowed to pass and again raises the question as to whether his exorbitant shuffle to the off-side befuddles him as to where his off-stump actually is.

David Warner copped a good one – although his footwork lacked conviction – with Mark Wood nipping one back off the pitch to take the inside edge to the keeper.

Enter Shaun Marsh, recalled at the expense of his brother Mitch as the selectors tried to bolster the batting line-up. Marsh has had a habit of scoring big first up – 141 against Sri Lanka on debut and 148 against South Africa when recalled to the side at Centurion in February last year.

This time around he did not trouble the scorers. Always a nervous starter he edged Broad into the cordon to complete the seventh duck of his 15-Test career.

The move of Marsh to four and Clarke to five was to remove the prospect of the out-of-form skipper being exposed too early to the new ball.

Arriving at the crease a mere eight balls into the innings put paid to that tactic. While he was there he witnessed firsthand the demise of Marsh and Adam Voges, who held his place as a result of the Marsh swap.

His poor run in this series continued with a brilliant catch by Ben Stokes in the slips off Broad to be out for just one. The path of his bat to the ball was not pretty to watch while the catch was spectacular.

As is often the way when wickets tumble the fielding side snaps up everything. As for Clarke, his shot to be dismissed was consistent with a man who is desperately searching for form.

After getting off the mark with an inside edge for four, a waft wide of off-stump and a catch to Cook at slip off Broad had him on his way for ten. It was a ball he should never have flashed at.

He left the field with shoulders slumped and a scoreboard that read 6-29. Shortly thereafter it was all out 60 off 18.3 overs.

No one could have contemplated such a horrid outcome. Broad was outstanding and his support acts did their job too.He will doubtless never have a day like it ever again.

He need not, because in a mere 39 deliveries he effectively determined the Ashes and no player could ever ask for more than that.

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 7 August 2015, soliciting 265 comments

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