Stuart Broad put in a devastating final spell of quick bowling in the late afternoon and evening of the fourth day (Monday Aug 12) of the fourth Ashes Test match. He dismissed six Australian cricket batsmen in quick succession to win the game and the Ashes series for hosts England.
In a seesawing match, England won the toss and elected to bat in a Test where fast bowlers played a major part.
After England had scored a modest 238 in their first innings, in which only captain Alastair Cook and Jonathon Trott contributed more than 26 runs, Australia had a bad start to their first innings losing four wickets for 76 runs. Chris Rogers and Shane Watson consolidated their innings and, at 205 for 4, Australia looked in the driving seat.
But, Australia’s last six wickets fell for 65 runs, providing a first innings advantage of only 32 runs. Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Jimmy Anderson taking two wickets each in this period. Rogers scored 110 and Watson 68 in the Australia 270 total.
The respective first innings bowling attack, led by England’s Broad taking 5 wickets for 71 runs, was rivalled by Australia’s Nathan Lyon who took 4 for 42.
Australia’s quick bowler Ryan Harris took three quick wickets of Cook, Joe Root and Trott in England’s second innings, leaving the home team on 49 for 3. Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell steadied the innings to take the score to 155. Then, Pietersen was caught by Rogers off the bowling of Lyon. Bell continued to build his innings to 113 before being bowled by Harris. Tim Bresnan scored a sparkling 45 and Swann contributed a further 30 runs to give England a total of 330 to set Australia a target of 299 runs to win.
At the beginning of the fourth day Australia dismissed the last five England batsmen before lunch. They were on 11 runs for no wickets at lunch, but play did not resume until 2:50pm due to rain.
Australia had a good start to their second innings with their openers Rogers and David Warner scoring 109 before Rogers was well caught in the slips by Trott off the bowling of Swann. All seemed on track for Australia. Khawaja was next at 147 for two wickets. And even at 168 for 3, when Warner, who had scored a fine innings of 71, was caught behind the wicket by Matt Prior off the bowling of Bresnan, Australia still seemed on target with 131 remaining to win.
But then Broad struck. The 27-year-old from Nottingham took 6 second innings wickets for 50 runs. In a devastating spell he took the wickets of Clarke (Australia were now 174-4), Smith (175-5), Haddin (181-7), Harris (199-8), Lyon (211-9) and finally Siddle (224-10).
Bresnan chipped in with the wicket of Watson (179-6).
England, after retaining the Ashes when rain stopped play and forced a draw in the third Test were a little sheepish over their success. But following their dominance with the ball in the fourth Test – to win the 5-Test series 3-0 with a match still to play – the home team had every right to be jubilant.
For Australia it was a massive disappointment. To slump from a commanding 1-147—needing 152 for the victory—then to be all out for 224 was a crushing blow. Recovering from this will take something special. Remember this was a team that had gained confidence and momentum a week earlier when it appeared rain was the culprit that ended their hopes of keeping the Ashes series alive. A 74-run defeat this time and there was no one to point at to explain their collapse except themselves … and maybe Broad.
Australia’s Harris may have had a fine match, finishing with match figures of 7 wickets for 117, but it was the performance of Stuart Broad, with figures of 11 wickets for 121 who played the most-decisive part in the match.
Australia will play the England Lions in a 2-day match in Northampton beginning on Aug 16. Meanwhile, the fifth and final 5-day Test match in the 2013 Ashes Series will be played at The Oval in Surrey starting on Aug 21.
Australia’s tour of Britain will continue into September with Twenty20 International and One Day International matches.