After flaring briefly, Australia’s Ashes campaign was last night snuffed out by the damp Manchester drizzle.
Needing to bowl England out in a day, the home side lost three wickets quickly enough in the first session to energise the Australian attack. For a short time, even, the scene became hauntingly familiar for England fans, most of whom no doubt suddenly remembered what it was like to be the hunted.
Their captain Alastair Cook fell disastrously without troubling the scoreboard, wasting a DRS in distress over what was always the plumbest of LBW dismissals.
Soon after, Jonathan Trott survived another DRS review by the barest of margins only to edge Ryan Harris down legside the next over.
And when Kevin Pietersen blew his team’s final review with a typically petulant denial of a faint edge off the bowling of Peter Siddle, there was only one thing that could stop the rampant Aussies from remaining in the race for the race.
And so it did, allowing just three more balls after lunch – which Ian Bell barely survived – before drizzling out the afternoon and the series result.
The question now is, with the challenge of retaining them in Australia looming just three months away, was it enough to allow the rot to set into the all-conquering England side?
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