Ashes - England down dismal Australia with day to spare

Day four, second Test, Lord's - England 361 (Bell 109 / Harris 5-72) and 349-7 dec. (Root 180, Bell 74) beat Australia 128 (Swann 5-44) and 235 (Swann 4-78) by 347 runs. England lead the five-match Ashes series 2-0.

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Ashes - England down dismal Australia with day to spare
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England celebrate thrashing Australia at Lord's (Reuters)

England thrashed Australia by 347 runs with a day to spare in the second Test at Lord’s to assume a commanding 2-0 lead in the Ashes series.

Having established a huge second-innings lead of 582 runs and declared on 349-7 early on day four, Alastair Cook’s side set about bowling out the tourists again for 235 after an extra hour was called for in the final session.

It was a convincing and emphatic victory for England - their 50th Test win at Lord's - as the four-day humbling of Michael Clarke’s side followed a considerably more competitive encounter at Trent Bridge.

Indeed, the defeat was Australia's third heaviest in an Ashes Test, with Clarke left to reflect on a "hugely disappointing and unacceptable performance" after the match finished with the fifth day not required.

Opener Joe Root saw his inspired century ended on 180 early in the day, and he continued his man-of-the match exploits with figures of 2-9 while fellow spinner Graeme Swann added three wickets to his five in the first innings.

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For Clarke’s tourists it was a humiliating defeat, and one which they will have trouble recovering from as the five-match Ashes series moves on to Old Trafford on August 1.

England can now clinch a series victory in Manchester with only a draw required to retain the Ashes, but a series whitewash will now be talked up after a most one-sided of matches at St John's Wood.

Cook was able to reflect upon a victory that appeared assured from early in the match: "A few of the boys were keen [to finish the Test today]. We thought we would create the chances, and we just about got there."

From the start of the day it appeared that a victory for the hosts was all but an inevitability. Cook declared his team's second innings closed immediately after Root had added only two to his overnight score as the opener attempted an ambitious scoop shot over his head off Ryan Harris but the ball looped to Steve Smith at third man.

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Root’s Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow was the only other batsman to fall in the final 15 minutes of the England innings: after hitting left-arm spinner Ashton Agar straight back over his head for six, he was caught behind for 20, also off the bowling of Harris.

Australia made a sluggish start to their second innings as Shane Watson made his customary bright start with 20 from 23 balls with three boundaries before contriving to be trapped lbw yet again as James Anderson claimed one of two wickets in the day.

Surprisingly, Watson did not waste a referral with the third umpire and instead trudged back, having been given out lbw for the second time in the match, before Swann knocked back fellow opener Chris Rogers's off-stump with only his fifth delivery.

Swann struck again with a similar delivery to send another of Australia's left-handers, Phillip Hughes, back to the pavilion for just one, while Clarke survived a stumping opportunity against the spinner after scoring two with Matt Prior unable to take the opportunity.

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Clarke (51), with his 27th Test half-century, proceeded to make a fleeting resistance alongside Usman Khawaja (54), until Root dismissed both players with his occasional off-spin after the pair had put on 98 for the fourth wicket.

Tim Bresnan, who was England’s only change for the second Test in preference to Steven Finn, then accounted for Steve Smith for one as he had the number six caught behind after an ugly flail at the ball on the stroke of tea.

Agar was very controversially give out caught behind by third umpire Tony Hill, despite having been not out according to on-field umpire Marais Erasmus, as Bresnan claimed a second wicket with Prior taking a simple catch behind the stumps. It capped a second contentious display from the officials using the DRS.

Peter Siddle contributed a determined 18 off 62 balls from number nine before he saw his woodwork scattered by Anderson, before James Pattinson and Harris combined for a final-wicket partnership of 43 runs.

England were left frustrated by the doughty late resistance, with Australia now having racked up 295 runs for final-wicket partnerships in the series, but Swann eventually wrapped it up by trapping Pattinson lbw in the extra hour afforded for the match to reach a result.

Root was deservedly awarded the man-of-the-match accolade while Swann, with eight wickets in the match, and Ian Bell, with scores of 109 and 74, could easily have also received such recognition for key contributions in a victory that puts England in control of the series. The hosts' only concern ahead of the Old Trafford Test will be the fitness of Kevin Pietersen, who sat out the final day with a calf strain.

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