Although Australia lost the Edgbaston Test inside three days, they would still have been hopeful of making a comeback at Trent Bridge since they had fought hard at Lord’s as well to recover from the Cardiff setback. Australia were even given a slight reprieve as they learnt that one of their chief tormentors over the years, a man named James Anderson, had been ruled out of the fourth Test due to injury. However, they clearly could not have accounted what was to hit them on the opening day of the Test. Without sounding unfair to Stuart Broad, it was a freak opening day spell, where he magically cast his spell on the Aussies.
There are two ways Australia can look back at their effort at Trent Bridge, either ways, they would disappointed. One, they were at the receiving end of a fantastic bowling spell by one of the best fast bowlers in the world currently. Second, they made the pitch look tougher than it actually was on the first morning. A fairer assessment of their performance would lead to the conclusion that it was a mix of both. Broad bowled some brilliant deliveries, but Australia could have done better.
An opening day pitch in England always has something in it for its bowlers. And while Broad exploited the same, he also exposed weaknesses in the techniques of Australia’s batsmen. Chris Rogers got a fantastic ball, but he could have done better to defend it. Similarly, Steven Smith was squared up looking to play a ball that he could have actually left alone. Adam Voges jabbed at one that with hard hands, and was spectacularly caught in the slips. As for skipper Micheal Clarke, he played as rash a shot as anyone could. Australia thus contributed to their own downfall.
Batting has clearly been Australia’s bane in this series. They got off to a better start in the second innings, and although it was always going to be a lost cause, their batting effort again disappointed. Rogers and Warner batted well for their respective fifties, but neither managed to carry on and reach three figures. Australia should have looked to salvage some pride, instead they again collapsed and handed the match to England on a platter. Adam Voges got a battling fifty, but it was a clear cut case of too little, too late.
Australia’s bowling was also frail in comparison to the English. Mitchell Starc bowled with fire in the first innings for his six wickets, but he had very little in the form of support. Mitchell Johnson bowled with spirit at Lord’s, but he hasn’t been his real self sine. Josh Hazlewood’s lack of experience has also come to the fore in the last two Tests while Nathan Lyon hasn’t had much to do. To be fair to the bowlers though, the Aussie batsmen did not present them with enough opportunities to excel.
-- By A Cricket Analyst