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Australia finally put to bed by world class English

Rain has been unsuccessful in saving Australia from defeat in the 5th Test, with the English claiming the final 3 wickets on the final morning to claim an innings and 83 run victory. A Ashes record score of 644 in the first innings put Australia out of the match, before the pace trio of Jimmy Anderson (3-61), Tim Bresnan (2-51) and Chris Tremlett (3-80) rolled through a feeble Australian batting line up, bowling them out for 281. The victory completes a 3-1 series win for the English, who have exceeded expectations this summer and sent Australian cricket into a tailspin. Man of the series Alistair Cook, who finished with 766 runs for the series, also claimed man of the match honours for his brilliant 189.

It is also a poor start to the captaincy career of Michael Clarke, who filled in for an injured Ricky Ponting in this Test. After winning the toss and batting, Australia stuttered and stumbled to 8-189 before a 76 run partnership between Mitchell Johnson (53) and Ben Hilfenhaus (34) pushed Australia’s total to 280.

After claiming some early wickets and putting the English under pressure, a shatteringly late no-ball call on debutant Michael Beer saw Cook gain a chance on 46, before he had a catch drop just short of Phillip Hughes on 99. A 154 run partnership between Cook and Ian Bell (115) guided England past Australia’s total, and Bell to his maiden Ashes century, and following this a 107 run partnership between Bell and wicketkeeper Matt Prior (118), who also scored his maiden Ashes century, put the Australian’s to the sword.

Under immense pressure from the English batsman, the Aussies fell to pieces, culminating with quite possible the worst ball bowled by an Australian by Ben Hilfenhaus, as the ball stuck in his hand, and landed just a metre in front of his foot.  Despite showing some promise, Beer became another in the long line of failures in Australia’s search for a new spinner, whilst Hifenhaus and Johnson struggled outside of Perth.

They finally finished the job on the fifth morning, despite encouraging knocks from Peter Siddle (43) and Steve Smith (?), the Barmy Army singing them home after the SCG Trust opened the gates for the final day. The result was the third innings defeat Australia experienced this summer, another record Australia would not be proud of this season.

Illustrating the English dominance of the series was the run scoring tally, with just two Australians (Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin) managing to score centuries in the series, whilst of the seven English batsman, only Collingwood failed to score one. The only good for Australia coming out of the match was the first innings of Usman Khawaja (37), whose composure and patience under pressure showed plenty of promise for life after Ricky Ponting.

Matt Considers: Well finally the pain is over…..for now. As much as it may be preemptive, this needs to be the watershed point for Australian cricket. The golden age finished a few years ago, and now we need to focus on how we can place ourselves for the next one. Big questions need to be asked, and answers not simply rushed. If Australia has to use the next couple of Test series as experimental, then so be it. Australians would rather see us beaten with a team of young stars who are learning rather than old hopes who are painfully ruining what were great careers. I’ll be writing further about this in my blog for this week, so stay tuned to whosplayingwho.net for more!

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