August 13, 2013
England have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Investec Ashes series after overcoming Australia by 74 runs in the fourth test in Durham. Stuart Broad, with 11 wickets in the game, was crowned man-of-the match, but England were also indebted to Ian Bell (113), Kevin Pietersen (44) and Tim Bresnan (45) for valuable second innings runs after the top order had once again been blown away. Australia can take heart from individual performances by Ryan Harris, with seven second innings wickets and nine in the match, Nathan Lyon who picked up seven wickets on an unresponsive pitch, Chris Rogers for his first innings century and David Warner and Shane Watson who both showed improved form with the bat.
A tense last day saw the initiative switch back and forth. England, resuming their second innings 202 ahead, soon lost Bell, Matt Prior and Broad to the new ball but Bresnan and Graeme Swann hit out to extend the lead to 298. Warner and Rogers put on 109 at a gallop for the first wicket and Australia went in to tea on 120-1 with England looking shell-shocked. At that stage, the odds were stacked in Australia’s favour. However, soon afterwards, Swann and Bresnan began to open up Australia, and then it was left to Broad to deliver the coup de grace with a devastating spell of 6-20. This included knocking out Michael Clarke’s off stump with the fastest ball of the match.
At the presentation ceremony, Clarke paid tribute to England and Bell and Broad in particular. Once again, he suggested that the batting, his included, has to improve. For England, Alastair Cook praised his men for staying cool under pressure.
The teams now head to The Oval for the final test, which starts on 21 August. England will consider resting James Anderson, but are likely to remain unchanged. Australia may be forced to replace Watson who has a minor groin strain. England will be looking to force another victory and put down a marker for the up-coming return series down under. Australia, who can scarcely credit that they are so far behind in the series, will be hoping for an up-turn in their fortunes.
England 238 (Cook 51, Lyon 4-42) and 330 (Bell 113, Harris 7-117) beat Australia 270 (Rogers 110, Watson 68, Broad 5-71) and 224 (Warner 71, Broad 6-50) by 74 runs
The Scoop 13/08/13