Australia coach Darren Lehmann warned his batsmen that their Test careers were in jeopardy after a stunning collapse gifted England a third straight Ashes series win.
The tourists, who had to win the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street to keep alive hopes of squaring the series, were well-placed in pursuit of a target of 299 at 147 for one on Monday’s fourth day.
But they lost their last nine wickets for 77 runs in an extraordinary, albeit extended, final session. England, who had already retained the Ashes, won by 74 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead going into next week’s fifth and final Test at The Oval in south London.
Former Australia batsman Lehmann criticised the performance of his middle-order before indicating that only captain Michael Clarke and opener Chris Rogers, who made his maiden Test hundred in the first innings, were safe from the axe.
Asked if careers where in jeopardy, Lehmann replied: “Yep, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m happy for you to write whatever it is that you write there.
“To play for Australia, you’ve got to perform at a level that is acceptable for everyone in our team.
“At the moment we’re not doing that.
“We’ve lost clumps of wickets which have really hurt us. We have to learn from our mistakes. If they don’t learn, we’ll find blokes that will.
“No-one’s guaranteed their place. Apart from probably Clarke and Rogers.”
‘Greedy’ Cook hungry for more Ashes glory
England captain Alastair Cook promised no let-up against arch-rivals Australia in the final Test.
“Nine wickets in a session, the crowd, the excitement and the nerves at the beginning,” said Cook. “It was the moment.
“We are going to get greedy and try and repeat that at The Oval.”
Man-of-the-match Stuart Broad led England’s attack with a return of six wickets for 50 runs on his way to a Test-best match haul of 11 for 121.
“Words can’t justify how good a spell of bowling that was,” said Cook. “It was a fine spell of bowling. That’s probably not the right adjective either.
“As a captain and knowing how important that session was — if we lost that session we would have been struggling.
“Broady knew that and the lads knew that. He really charged in.
“When everything clicks and bowling in the high 80s with the control Broady has it’s incredibly hard to bat.”
Meanwhile Broad said: “It was definitely adrenaline. It was a very special afternoon. We gathered ourselves at tea with Australia having won that session without doubt. “At the start of that period Bressy [Tim Bresnan] and I got together and said ‘Come on we can really put the squeeze on here’.
“Once we got one wicket the crowd got behind us, and with that the team were really lifted.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.
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