Cricket – Ashes to ashes

THE FIRST Test in this year’s official series, which will culminate at The Oval on September 8, saw England bowl out Australia for a meagre 190 at Lords.

Harrison, Huggard and Flintoff caused most of the damage, leading to an air of expectation that 35-year-old Glenn McGrath then proceeded to turn into despair.

Standing at 10-0, England’s top order was decimated by the man from Dubbo, leaving the home side reeling on 21-5 after only 31 deliveries. England closed on 92-7 with only Kevin Pietersen left in to salvage something from the innings. McGrath’s haul elevated him into the exclusive 500 Club in the process, only the fourth cricketer to pass that mark.

Pietersen managed to add a respectable 57 before falling to Warne, 35 from Harrison contributing to a total reply of 155.

The tourists, at the crease for the second time, piled on the agony with golden boy Michael Clarke leading the way with 91. Several dropped catches from Pietersen proved costly as Australia built an unassailable looking lead, finally bowing out on 384.

Chasing England started yet another collapse following Strauss’ dismissal for 37, Warne almost single-handedly shooting down the top order in flames. Rain ended the third day’s play on 156-5, granting a tortured England side a temporary stay of execution.

The end came about quickly. England succumbed on 180, McGrath claiming another four wickets to give Australia a comprehensive 230-run victory. This Thursday will see the start of the second Test.