London: England's Graeme Swann made no attempt to hide his shame at the wicket that sent him on his way to a place on the Lord's honours boards during the second Ashes Test against Australia on Friday.
Off-spinner Swann led England's attack with 5 wickets for 44 runs in 21.3 overs as Australia collapsed to 128 all out in reply to the Ashes-holders' first innings 361, a deficit of 233 runs. In the process the 34-year-old Nottinghamshire bowler became the first England spinner to take five wickets in an innings of an Ashes Test at Lord's in 79 years. Yorkshire left-arm great Hedley Verity returned figures of 7 for 61 and 8 for 43 in the corresponding 1934 fixture - a match England won by an innings and 38 runs.
Yet the 16th 'five for' of Swann's 54-match Test career began in comical fashion when the ball slipped from his hand and turned into a full toss that 'boxed' Australia's Chris Rogers. England appealed for lbw and Rogers, on his Middlesex home ground, was given out by South African umpire Marais Erasmus to leave Australia 50 for 2.
To make matters worse for Australia, in the latest example of their problems in using the Decision Review System (DRS), Rogers opted against challenging the decision even though replays indicated the ball would have missed the left-hander's leg stump.
"It was quite simply the worst ball I've ever bowled. It slipped out of my hand; I can't even watch it, so the less we see of it the better," said Swann. "It was truly awful cricket. I was a bit embarrassed but I'm sure Chris Rogers was even more embarrassed."
Australia coach Darren Lehmann said Rogers' role in advising fellow opener Shane Watson after the allrounder was plumb lbw to Tim Bresnan had played a part in his subsequent decision not to use the second and final review of the innings on himself. Bucky Rogers got that wrong with Shane; he told Shane to take it," Lehmann explained.
"That's just the way it goes sometimes, and then he should have used one on himself, but he probably didn't want to after wasting one. We've certainly got the bowling side of it right with the referrals. Now the batters have to get that right," the Australian coach added.
Something else Australia have to get right, and in a hurry too, is their basic top-order batting. Australia's 10th wicket added 228 runs during England's 14-run first Test win at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge ground last week after the top order twice failed to produce the runs expected of specialist batsmen.
But, unsurprisingly, the tail were unable to repeat their heroics on Friday in an Australia innings where Watson (30) and captain Michael Clarke (28) were the only batsmen to get into the 20s.
"The big thing for us is to make more runs, simple," said former Australia batsman Lehmann, appointed just 16 days before the Ashes after Mickey Arthur was dramatically sacked. "The top order failed again and we need to make sure we're learning from our mistakes and we probably haven't done that from the first innings at Notts to the first innings here," said Lehmann.
"We showed glimpses but we've got to bat better. It was more one-day batting than Test-match batting. Our shot selection was poor today, simple as that. I think eight out of the 10 [dismissals] were self-inflicted to be perfectly honest."
Peter Siddle's treble left England 31 for 3 in their second innings at stumps on the second day. But that still meant England led by 264 runs - more than double Australia's first innings score.
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