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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 18:41 UK

Dismal England face heavy defeat

Fourth Ashes Test, Headingley (day two, close):
England 102 & 82-5 v Australia 445
Match scorecard

Australia celebrate the wicket of Andrew Strauss
The dismissal of Strauss began another England collapse

By Jamie Lillywhite

England capitulated to 82-5 and still trail Australia by 261 runs after two days of the fourth Ashes Test in Leeds.

Australia resumed on 196-4 and Michael Clarke extended his stand with Marcus North to 152 before he fell to Graham Onions for 93 shortly before lunch.

North (110) hit a six to seal his third ton but was last out in a total of 445, Stuart Broad with a Test best 6-91.

England began with a deficit of 343 but after a calm opening stand of 58, five wickets fell for 20 in 40 minutes.

After fateful Friday, in which there were dawn fire alarms, the loss of Andrew Flintoff and a back spasm to Matt Prior during a game of football on the outfield, before the small matter of being skittled out for 102 and seeing Australia reach 196-4, England followers could be forgiven for thinking things could not get worse.

But it was perhaps even more dispiriting, 249 runs conceded in 57 overs and another total collapse with the bat.

Conditions were favourable for bowling at the start of the day, however, despite bright sunshine the ball was swinging and there was pace and bounce in the surface.

But England's bowlers could simply not take advantage.

James Anderson found some prodigious movement but was frustrated by having his radar a fraction out, and also appeared to be hampered by a hamstring injury.

606: DEBATE
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The third ball of the day was clinically punched off the back foot for four by North who played in positive fashion throughout, with an expansive follow through.

Anderson bowled one absolute beauty to Clarke that swung away and was too good to edge, but the inswinger that was his surprise delivery began to be his stock delivery and Clarke was able to read them with ease, clipping the ball off his pads with consummate efficacy.

Steve Harmison's first ball was pitched halfway down the wicket and Clarke had ample time to paddle it away through wide mid-on for four.

The tall paceman was clearly told to keep bowling short, perhaps to test the abdominal injury that made Clarke an injury doubt in the build-up.

Men were deployed to the boundary on both sides of the wicket, presumably for the top-edge hook or cut, but their time was spent retrieving the ball from the fence.

If those tactics were surprising, the decision to ask Stuart Broad to bowl well wide of the stumps with seven fielders on the off-side in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of runs was even more baffling, and something of an insult to the paying public, who were reduced to a stunned silence.

A large crowd had arrived full of expectation for an England revival, but the only thing they had to cheer in the opening 90 minutes was the sight of Graeme Swann falling to the ground after his ankle gave way as he was about to throw the ball in from the deep.

Eventually skipper Andrew Strauss lost patience with his errant senior bowlers and brought spinner Swann on, but Onions had to wait even longer, introduced with only 30 minutes until lunch.

Marcus North
North's bold strokeplay ensured Australia of a massive lead

Clarke played his usual array of elegant strokes but was fortunate when a leading edge looped between the fielders.

Three balls later though Onions got him, proving the virtues of the full delivery once again as an inswinging yorker trapped the Australian vice-captain in front.

After conceding 110 runs in the session to trail by 204 at the interval, England would no doubt have been happy to have stayed in the pavilion all afternoon, but there was some encouragement when Harmison's bouncer unsettled Brad Haddin, who mis-timed a hook and gave Ian Bell a simple catch behind square on the leg-side.

Mitchell Johnson kept the runs flowing, adding 70 in 16 overs with his fellow southpaw, but just when the volatile Broad looked as if he was about to throttle someone, Johnson hooked straight to Ravi Bopara - who had earlier been the subject of a verbal volley from the tall Nottinghamshire bowler - on the mid-wicket boundary.

After Peter Siddle was bowled first ball by a good one from Broad that held its line, North ensured there would be no chance of him being left stranded in the 90s, reaching three figures in style with a mighty six.

Swann turned the occasional delivery sharply but was pulled emphatically way over mid-wicket by the powerfully-built left-hander.

Clark played a remarkable cameo, launching a towering straight six back over Swann's head that went over the stand and into the media toilets, before smearing Broad for successive sixes several rows back over mid-wicket.

What followed was a remarkable turnaround, even by England's standards.

Strauss and Alastair Cook seemed thoroughly comfortable, content to leave as much of the bowling as possible and not chase the ball as happened throughout the first innings.

But just when the England batsmen seemed in control, Ben Hilfenhaus struck twice in two balls, first removing Strauss with a ball that swung in subtly.

Bopara with only 105 runs in eight innings in the series, then suffered the sort of luck that so often befalls a man out of form, an inside edge not detected by umpire Asad Rauf.

Then Johnson, so out of form earlier in the series, tempted Ian Bell into a lame prod that was snaffled by second slip, and produced some classic left-arm pace bowling by pushing the ball across the out of sorts Paul Collingwood before trapping him with an inswinger.

Bizarrely, nightwatchman Anderson was sent out to protect the remaining batsmen, but then took a single and left Cook on strike, and some late swing from Johnson saw him edge through to the keeper.

Amazingly it might have been worse. Matt Prior edged the final ball of the day to slip but North saw it late and fumbled the chance.

It is not likely to be of significance. With three days to go, England are deep in trouble, with the momentum of the series now flowing firmly in Australia's favour.



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see also
England playing for pride - Broad
08 Aug 09 |  Australia
England v Australia photos
08 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Australia on top as England slump
07 Aug 09 |  Australia
Classic Ashes clashes: Headingley
04 Aug 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
28 May 09 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
21 Apr 08 |  England


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