Australia on brink of conceding Ashes
Australia are set to relinquish the urn after serving up one of the country’s worst days of Test cricket.
It started with a career-best haul from Stuart Broad, who snared 8-15 to roll the tourists for just 60 before lunch on day one of the fourth Ashes Test.
It ended with England 4-274, Joe Root unbeaten on 124 after hammering home the hosts’ advantage at Trent Bridge.
Their lead is already 214 runs – the third highest day-one lead in Test history.
A two-day Test is very much on the cards.
Rain of biblical proportions, or a handful of miraculous acts, may be the only roadblocks to England taking an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series.
Given Thursday’s procession, Australia are unlikely to believe in interventionist cricket gods.
Overcast skies and high humidity helped Broad bedazzle in 9.3 overs, but disappeared after lunch.
However, attributing a collapse of 7-29 in the space of 56 deliveries to the weather would be foolish.
The reasons for the batting blues are not obvious, but Root showed how serious a case it is.
There are many damning numbers that sum up the carnage.
Australia’s deplorable dig lasted 18.3 overs, the last-wicket pair batting through almost six of them.
It was the fastest first innings in Test history.
Extras top-scored for the tourists with 14.
No side had ever experienced such ignominy in the Ashes.
Historically it ranked as Australia’s lowest Test total in England since 1902.
However, it was the side’s relative incompetence that placed their woes in proper context.
Struggling opener Adam Lyth scored 14 for England, he would have top-scored for the opposition.
England had a lead by 2.56pm local time, with Lyth and Ian Bell the only men out.
Jonny Bairstow, playing his 16th Test, outscored Australia’s total by 14 runs.
Root became the first batsman to score a second-innings century on day one of an Ashes Test.
Selectors promoted Shaun Marsh at the expense of brother Mitch, hoping to shore up the side’s batting.
Instead Marsh was out for a duck, while his brother’s overs were dearly missed as Australia went into a Test without an allrounder for the first time in almost 18 months.
Mitchell Johnson was unsurprisingly less effective and explosive, while Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc struggled for control.
David Warner faced two balls, but bowled 18.
Michael Clarke was prickly before play, unwilling to confirm at the toss whether he would also have sent the opposition in if given the chance like Alastair Cook.
Clarke, who demoted himself to No.5 in the order, was out for 10 when he slashed at a wide ball from Broad with minimal footwork.
Save for Johnson’s 13, it was the most runs any Australian batsman could offer.
Yet the mode of dismissal was a reminder of Clarke’s lean trot.
The captain also endured a frustrating moment in the field, with third slip Steve Smith leaping in front of him trying to reel in a spectacular catch.
Smith offered Cook a life on 29 with the score 2-65.
Cook was later trapped lbw for 43 by Starc, who claimed the first three wickets to fall.