We wondered whether the Aussies would bounce back from Edgbaston. Shaun Marsh came in for Mitchell Marsh and Mark Wood replaced the injured Jimmy Anderson for the hosts. England didn't need the Lancastrian as in the first over Stuart Broad on his home ground, removed Rogers and Steve Smith. Wood then took out Warner with a peach of a delivery and the Australians had let down their fans yet again. If I had travelled over from Down Under for the last two Tests I would be as furious as Gazza at closing time. The Australian batting was a disgrace.
Too many times they have played with hard hands, not playing the ball under the heads and it has been catching practice for the English cordon. England bowled well yes, and used the home conditions perfectly but the Aussies helped them massively. Aussies in the past have been tough competitors; not this mob. Aussies have adapted to English conditions; not this mob. Aussies have always had a hard nosed skipper who has led from the front; not Clarke.
They were shocking. At 29-6 with your team on the Ayers Rocks, the skipper wafted at a wide one and was caught at slip. They were all out before lunch for 60. Yes just sixty. That is not an innings score, it was an annual sub in club cricket twenty years ago! The Aussie batting nicked more than a myopic barber at this Trent Bridge of Sighs for those from Down Under. Broad took 8-15 and picked up his three hundredth wicket in the process. England were batting before lunch. Nottingham hadn't seen such madness since Derek Randall called for a quick single.
When England batted Lyth struggled again, before a sublime innings from Joe Root made it look easy. The residents of this city hadn't smiled so much since Trevor Francis nodded one in at the far post in a European Cup Final. His 130, aided and abetted by his fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow meant that this game was in the bag after four hours.
On the following day Starc picked up sixfer but it was all too little, too late. England had the luxury of declaring after brief cameos from Wood and Ali, before toying with the Aussies like a cat with a mouse. Despite a couple of wickets from no balls, and some butter fingered catching, Stokes picked up six. This may have been a part of the world where David Pleat drove his car rather slowly around the streets, but this match went at a frenetic pace.
Wood eventually bowled Lyon and the Ashes were ours. England won by an innings and seventy eight runs. In layman's terms, they pissed it.
After the game Clarke announced he was standing down and became the first Aussie skipper to do so in mid series whilst touring England. All sorts of rumours are flying about from Down Under with the Herald Sun claiming he never travels with team mates, certain players refuse to socialise with each other and even a couple of the wives are not on speaking terms. Jimmy may have been ready for a "broken fucken arm" on the last two, but this Aussie team seem fractured from top to bottom.
This will be the last rites for many of their ageing side. Johnson, Rogers, Haddin, Clarke and Lyon may have had their last tour to these shores. They have gone on too long, and are as long in the tooth as Luis Suarez. England are still not a great side, but a good young team who battle for each other. The attack has variety but they will not be top notch until the opening batsman and their spin problems get sorted. They still had too much for this Aussie side.
On to the Oval we go...