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Australia's Brad Haddin, left, watches England's Jonathan Trott, right, catch him out during day 2 of the second Ashes Test at Lord's cricket ground in London, Friday, July 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan) *** Local Caption *** Britain Cricket England Australia.JPEG-0e373.jpg
Australia's Brad Haddin, left, watches England's Jonathan Trott, right, catch him out during day 2 of the second Ashes Test at Lord's cricket ground in London, Friday, July 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan) *** Local Caption *** Britain Cricket England Australia.JPEG-0e373.jpg

Ashes: Australia lose all goodwill with poor show on second day at Lord's

After six days of gripping cricket, the Australians lost control so bad in a day they may have put the series at risk, writes Paul Radley.

It was appropriate that David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, was sat in the cheap seats at Lord's yesterday.

The nation's leader come man of the people was sat apparently anonymously in the upper tier of the Edrich Stand, an area which ranks among the more affordable parts of cricket's headquarters.

It made sense. It does not matter how much you earn, you would not want to fork out too much of your hard earned to watch this Australia team. Not their batsmen, anyway.

This was austerity cricket in its poorest terms. Limp. Supine. At times embarrassing. Australia were just plain terrible.

Maybe Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England who was also at the game - albeit in the posh seats - could pull a few strings to arrange a loan so Australia could buy a new batting line up. This one is dire.

Australia's batsmen spent the afternoon trying to find new ways to prove how accurate the pre-series forecasts about their fallibility actually are.

First of all, their incompetence when deciding which umpiring decisions to query and which to accept was laid bare again.

Shane Watson, the opening batsman, was trapped plumb in front by Tim Bresnan but opted to burn one of the side's two reviews anyway. Phil Hughes used the next one up when he was adjudged to have edged behind to Matt Prior, meaning Australia had used up all their get out of jail cards in the space of 19 overs.

In between, Chris Rogers opted not to make a justifiable appeal after falling victim to one of the most laughable dismissals you are likely to see. The left-handed opener, who plays home matches at Lord's as an overseas player for Middlesex, was hit in the midriff by a full toss from Graeme Swann - and given out lbw.

The ball was shown by Hawkeye to be missing leg stump by a distance. Rogers just seemed happy to get out of town after the shame of missing out on a freebie.

Usman Khawaja blew his opportunity to prove nail down his place in the side.

He was brought in for Ed Cowan, who fared badly at Trent Bridge, at the start of this game and instructed to grasp the nettle. Instead, he surrendered falling to a loose chipped drive off Swann.

Ashton Agar managed to mix both injury and insult. The new golden boy of the Australian game has been struggling with a hip injury for the first two days of the Lord's Test.

The hero of Trent Bridge's recovery was hardly assisted when Brad Haddin turned him down for a single, forced him to about turn, and he was run out for two.

And it is not as if England were much cop, themselves. Jonathan Trott dropped a dolly off Khawaja when Swann was bowling. The spinner dropped a caught and bowled chance himself later, too.

Then when they turned around, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke waved a simple catch between them when Joe Root was on just eight. It was more like slapstick than Test cricket.

At least they have Peter Siddle. The former woodchopper, who took five wickets on the first day of this series, helped the away team save some face with three wickets in the evening session.

It is unlikely it was enough to keep them in the series, though.

Australia's demise was not just disappointing for Antipodeans. The series suffers, too. For six days and session, these two sides had been gripped in thrilling, evenly-matched fare.

Then the tourists have a meltdown for a couple of sessions, and the series feels all but done.

They need to find a windfall from somewhere if they are going to avoid a triple dip recession, and a third successive Ashes series defeat against England.

pradley@thenational.ae

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