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Ashes 2013: Australia collapse to series defeat

Australia had already conceded the Ashes but a humiliating batting collapse at Durham has rubbed salt into their wounds and handed England a 3-0 lead in the series with a match to play.

Well placed in their pursuit of 299 to win the fourth Test at 0-109, and then 2-168, Michael Clarke's men lost 8-56 as England's Stuart Broad (6-50), with his second five-wicket haul giving him 11 for the match, left their aspirations in tatters.

In fading light on the fourth day England rolled Australia for 224 and completed a 74-run win, officially triumphing in the series when Peter Siddle drove Broad into the hands of James Anderson at mid-off.

A shattered Australia had ambitions of rendering England's Ashes retention more hollow by fighting back to leave the campaign level after the fifth and final Test at the Oval, starting next week.

But looking like they were coasting in the afternoon, they folded. The spirit shown for most of this match and the last - when they were cruelled by rain - will be little consolation after losing for the seventh time in the past eight matches. Without a Test win since January, Australia will drop to fifth in the world rankings behind Pakistan unless they prevail at the Oval.

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"It’s extremely disappointing – I guess I know now what it feels like to lose an Ashes series as a captain. A lot of things are hard to swallow at the moment," said Clarke, who was eager to credit Broad.

"Chasing 300 in the last innings of a Test match is always going to be difficult, there is no doubt about that. I don’t think today was about forgetting how to win, I just think a good bowler got his back up and got momentum around with it and we couldn’t stop him."

After Ryan Harris' career-best 7-117 had finished off England's second innings for 330, Australia made the ideal start to their chase with a purposeful 109-run opening stand between David Warner (71) and Chris Rogers (49), scored at upwards of four runs an over.

But when Warner exited at 5.44pm local time, the wheels came off, with five wickets falling in a dramatic 54 minutes.

At 6.10pm, Clarke (21) was the victim of unplayable ball from Broad that seamed off the pitch and tore into the top of his off stump, leaving the Australian captain as helpless as he was against that Anderson beauty at Trent Bridge.

“At the end of the day Spartan give me a cricket bat and I’ve got to use it.  It was a good ball but the great batsmen find ways to keep those out."

At 6.22pm Steve Smith (2) was the next to go, dragging the ball onto his stumps as he tried to hook Broad.

At 6.29pm Shane Watson (2), batting with a groin strain suffered while bowling, joined the procession, given out lbw to Tim Bresnan and unable to have Tony Hill's decision overturned, with third official Marais Erasmus sending back an "umpire's call" notification via the DRS.

At 6.39pm, Brad Haddin (4) departed in the same fashion to the rampaging Broad.

Both Watson and Haddin looked unimpressed with the decisions but the DRS came back with umpire's call on both occasions.

Their unsuccessful objections meant that Harris (11) had no choice but to walk when Broad then had him triggered lbw. A glance at the replay showed it would it would have done him no good anyway.

Broad's 10th for the match arrived when he dislodged the leg stump of Nathan Lyon (8) and with light deteriorating at the Riverside, the umpires allowed play to be extended for 30 minutes, as long as only spin was bowled.

The sun reappeared soon after, though, and it was Broad who struck yet again to remove Siddle for 23 and complete Australia's gloom.

"I can’t fault the belief in the guys or their will to try and win. Everybody’s attitude is brilliant – I can’t fault that I want our batters to get more runs," Clarke said. "I’d like our batting to be stronger.  Our bowlers are doing a fantastic job – I don’t think we are making enough runs, it’s as simple as that.

"We are sometimes getting closer and not getting over the line.  It doesn’t put more pressure on me, though – I've got to score more runs. I am part of the batting unit – I am not different to any other batter in that order. My job is first and foremost to score runs - and I only made 25 in this Test and that’s unacceptable."

Warner's exit was the catalyst for the capitulation but he could not be faulted for his contribution.

The 180 he blazed in Perth against India 19 months ago remains his most jaw-dropping Test outing, but the most character-revealing was a few weeks earlier when he carried his bat obstinately and against his instincts, almost saving Australia against New Zealand in Hobart.

His innings here was a blend of the aforementioned two, heaping the pressure on England's bowlers with his scoring rate but not going berserk. Warner being Warner, he could not help but entirely resist playing with fire, prompting a few gasps when he thumped spinner Graeme Swann high and over the extra-cover rope for six when on 30.

But aggression is what he trades in - for good and bad, of course, in this English summer - and he fortunately got a hold of the ball, clearing what is a long boundary. Elsewhere, Warner opted for more control, shifting onto the back foot and punching through point and the covers repeatedly when room was offered or when he could create it for himself.

It took a great ball, angling across him, from the under-appreciated Bresnan to entice a nick to Matt Prior and remove Warner late in the afternoon. After being booed at Old Trafford a week ago, the standing ovation he received from the members at Durham was instructive.

Rogers, who on 14 was in separate incidents dropped and given out caught behind before having the dismissal overturned on review, had earlier fallen just short of following up his first-innings century with a fourth 50 of the series.

His partnership with Warner laid the foundation Australia required but on a wicket where one breakthrough always threatened another they had barely taken off their pads when that foundation was crushed emphatically.

Usman Khawaja lasted only until 21 before being transfixed by Swann. When Clarke, Smith, Watson and then Haddin followed in a hurry, Australia were on their knees. From that point there, was no way back.

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