London: England descended to an embarrassing 405-run defeat inside four days at Lord’s as Mitchell Johnson hastened their collapse and Australia levelled the Ashes at 1-1.
England slumped to 64 for five at tea on the fourth day of the second Test at Lord’s after Australia had set them what would be a new fourth-innings record total of 509 to win. And the first ball after the break, saw Jos Buttler caught behind off Mitchell Johnson to leave England 64 for six.
Four balls later that became 64 for seven when Moeen Ali fell for a duck when he fended a lifting Johnson ball to short leg. After Australia declared their second innings on 254 for two, the more realistic if still difficult task for England, 1-0 up in the five-match series after their 169-run win in the first Test, was to bat out the remaining 155 overs left in this match to secure a draw.
Only eight sides, however, have survived for more than the equivalent of 150 six-ball overs in the 138-year history of Test cricket to achieve a draw. But just seeing out Sunday’s play looked beyond England as the new ball again proved their undoing. Opener Adam Lyth, out for a duck in the first innings, could only manage seven on Sunday before pushing at a lifting ball from Mitchell Starc he was caught behind by debutant wicket-keeper Peter Nevill.
England captain Alastair Cook, who batted for nearly six hours in making 96 during the first innings, certainly had the temperament required for the tricky situation. But his technique deserted him Cook tried to cut Johnson’s fourth ball of the innings without moving his feet and was caught behind for 11.