The final session of Day 4 turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax, given that the Australians had their noses in front for most of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Durham.
England were bowled out for 330, with a superb performance from Ryan Harris, leaving the Aussies to chase down 299 with almost a day and a half to spare. After a rollicking century opening stand, Australia – to put it quite simply – blew it. They lost wickets in a heap and eventually collapsed to 224 all out, handing their opponents the win by 74 runs and a 3-0 series lead, with one game to go.
Here are the heroes for the day:
Stuart Broad (6/50 in 18.3 overs)
The lanky pacer from Nottingham delivered right when it looked as though the Aussies were running away with the game. He removed skipper Michael Clarke with the ball of the match. The delivery that pitched on a good length outside off and moved away a touch, evaded Clarke’s outside edge, and crashed into the off-stump.
Next, he bowled Steve Smith with a short ball down the leg side, trapped Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris in front of the wicket, knocked over Nathan Lyon’s leg stump and ended Australia’s innings by having Peter Siddle caught by James Anderson.
A terrific spell of seam bowling from the T20 captain as he took the Man-of-the-Match honours with his 11-wicket haul in the game.
Ryan Harris (7/117 in 28 overs; 11 runs off 18 balls – 1 four)
The burly Queensland pacer bowled his heart out in the morning session as he took four more wickets in addition to the three he had grabbed the previous day. He first castled centurion Ian Bell and then wicket-keeper Matt Prior (the latter ended up with a golden duck). Stuart Broad was caught by Steve Smith and he finally dismissed Tim Bresnan with a quick catch off his own bowling.
During Australia’s chase, Harris belted 11 runs off 18 balls, hitting a four, but became one of Broad’s six victims when the pacer trapped him LBW. Despite his lion-hearted performance with both bat and ball, Australia lost the match and the series.
Tim Bresnan (45 runs in 90 balls – 6 fours; 2/36 in 13 overs)
The solidly-built Yorkshire player proved to be a surprise package with the bat, as he added 42 runs for the ninth wicket with off-spinner Graeme Swann, helping his side to a healthy 298-run lead and hitting six boundaries in the process.
After Australia had posted a century opening stand, Bresnan struck the most crucial blow – when he had the rampaging David Warner caught behind by Prior for a well-made 71 – effectively triggering a middle-order collapse. While Broad ran through most of Australian line-up, Bresnan took out all-rounder Shane Watson via another LBW decision.
In the context of the game, the 28-year-old’s double strike proved to be the turning point of the game.
David Warner (71 runs off 113 balls – 10 fours, 1 six)
The troubled left-hander came back into form with a composed knock that frustrated the Poms. Opening the innings with fellow southpaw Chris Rogers, the pocket-sized dynamo played his shots all over the park; the highlight of his knock was a lovely inside-out shot over extra covers for six in response to a flighted delivery from Swann.
Unfortunately for “Mario”, Bresnan deceived him with a full delivery around middle and off, surprising the batsman with a bit of bounce. The left-hander pushed at the ball, but due to the sudden bounce, it took the outside edge and flew into Prior’s gloves. His wicket triggered a slide from which Australia could not recover.
Graeme Swann (30* off 24 balls – 6 fours; 2/53 in 18 overs)
The wily off-spinner proved that he was no mug with the bat; hammering six boundaries in a quick fire unbeaten 30 off just 24 balls. He shared a 42-run stand with Bresnan and pushed the England total to 330.
With the ball, Swann removed the well-set Rogers for 49, having him caught by Jonathan Trott. He then dismissed Usman Khawaja for 21, trapping him in front of the stumps with a flighted delivery on middle. His rapid scoring rate and twin strikes helped to derail the Aussie run-wagon completely.