England clinches series victory
Blistering spell from Stuart Broad blows Australia out of the water, and inspires a 75-run win in the fourth Ashes Test in Durham.PT1M31S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2rsx2 620 349 August 13, 2013
A shattered Michael Clarke admits he has few answers to overcoming Australia's familiar trend of batting collapses, but insists they do not have any other players at their disposal to pick.
It was Groundhog Day for Australia at Durham on Monday, losing 8-56 in less than two hours to blow a promising position in the fourth Test and lose by 74 runs, handing England a 3-0 series victory in the Ashes with a match to play.
You have to select 11 players – you pick an Ashes squad – the selectors thought these were the best players for these conditions...
At Lord's they were bowled out for 128, and at Trent Bridge were 9-117 before Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes' late heroics added respectability.
Positive: David Warner gave Australia some hope. Photo: Reuters
The only difference was that this time the top order was not to blame, with David Warner (71) and Chris Rogers (49) steering the tourists to 1-147 midway through the fourth afternoon, only 152 short of the victory target.
In a swift turn of events, however, Australia were bowled out for 224, with Stuart Broad starring for England to complete 11 wickets for the match.
Clarke said his team was still coming to terms with the blown opportunity. At tea they seemed to be coasting but a session later they had lost nine wickets and were trying to absorb another defeat, their seventh in eight Tests.
Series won: Stuart Broad (R) celebrates after taking the last wicket of Peter Siddle. Photo: AFP
"I think right now we just have to have time to let it sink in – we have some time which is a positive for us," Clarke said. "We have another tour game (at Northampton) – we have plenty of time to train and keep working hard. The most difficult thing to take is that our preparation and training has been excellent – I can't ask for anything more from our players in regards to preparation. At the moment we are being outplayed.
"I think we are picking the best players – everyone says rebuild, rebuild, rebuild but you need guys in first-class cricket making runs to take someone's slot. We have to continue to show faith in these guys – it takes time playing against good opposition. We just played South Africa in Australia, we are playing England here then England in Australia then we go to South Africa – we are playing the best oppositions in the world. I think the selectors are doing the best they can to pick the best sides."
After an improved performance at Old Trafford where they believed they would have won if not for the rain, Australia had set their sights on levelling the series and claiming the momentum from England ahead of the five-match Ashes campaign at home in the summer. For all but a session of a thrilling contest it seemed they could take a step towards that at Durham, with a first Test win since January looking more and more likely on Monday afternoon.
Ashes Fourth Test - Day 4
England batsman James Anderson is caught by keeper Brad Haddin as Shane Watson celebrates. Photo: Getty
They now must use the final Test at the Oval next week to not only avoid a 4-0 hammering in England but take some degree of confidence with him on the plane home, with Alastair Cook's side due out in only three months. It has been 36 years since Australia failed to win a Test in an Ashes series.
Clarke paid tribute to his bowlers, chiefly Ryan Harris, who collected a career-best 7-117 in England's second innings, but knows it is in the batting order where they are continuing to be let down and time is running out ahead of the return series.
"We've got a couple of months I guess – all I can ask from the players is that they try and get better everyday – that they try and become a better player everyday and that will make us a better team – that's all I can ask," Clarke said " We are working exceptionally hard that is all we can keep doing.
"You have to select 11 players to take the field. You can’t go out there with two players. You pick an Ashes squad which the selectors thought were the best players for these conditions – and I think the selctors are doing a fine job. It is not easy. Guys are not scoring as many runs as we would like in first-class cricket so it’s very dififcult for them. When you pick the squad you have to keep the faith and try and get the best out of them. And it would be nice if the captain led by example and scored a few more runs as well.
"I think it’s nice to have Rogers and Warner making runs – Ryan Harris with the ball has been exceptional – he continues to perform and amaze. To get out on the park firstly and then to perform. I think we can take a lot of positives from that but it’s tough to be sitting here losing another Test match to be honest."