Even without the monumental brain fade at the crease, with a mountainous target to try and hurdle over, and five whole sessions to bat out, it was the kind of risk that simply didn’t need to be taken.
With England already well and truly on the ropes at 4/52, and with two fresh batsmen in Joe Root and Ben Stokes at the crease, a back foot push off a rising Mitchell Marsh delivery that run quickly to the reach zone of Mitchell Johnson fielding at straight mid-wicket was the last place to start trying to force runs from.
Still, much like the English‘s prodding style of play throughout their doomed forth innings, each man who arrived at the crease seemed in a bigger hurry to get back to the dressing rooms than the last. With Stokes – the non-striker – plodding towards the ‘keepers end with all the urgency of a groggy sloth, what should have been a tight, but regulation single turned into utter disaster when he committed an error that’s beaten out of young players from the age of about 6. He negated to slide his bat.
It was this lazy resignation that permeated through the English battling lineup from top to bottom – a foul stench that emanated from opening duo Adam Lyth and Alastair Cook, both drawn into unneeded searching shots off rising deliveries from a Day 4 Lord’s pitch that more closely resembled a Day 2 track in Brisbane.
Save for a brief and entertaining cameo from Stuart Broad, the English lineup completely folded in on itself to be all out for just 103, handing the Australians a whopping 405 run victory, and levelling the series at 1 test a piece.
Both sides now have 9 days to regroup, ahead of the Third Ashes Test at Edgbaston, which kicks off on July 29th. The Australians concerns for the match largely revolve around the health of opening batsman Chris Rogers, who in a frightening moment earlier on Day 4 had to Retire Hurt after suffering a dizzy spell, presumably a result of a previously suffered concussion suffered in net practice prior to the Australian’s recent two test tour of the West Indies.
As for Ben Stokes, it’s safe to say that if the Edgbaston drainage needs checking, English coach Trevor Bayliss will have Stokes digging the trench with his bat.