England players and supporters are still pinching themselves. Starting the game at 2-1 with two games to go, England's position was promising yet vulnerable. The 4th Test promised to be a tight, edgy affair with both sides aware of the importance of the result. Instead, England absolutely spanked a poorly selected Australia.
They say you can't win a Test on the first day, but you can lose it. Australia lost this Test match in the first session. England have to complete their innings and bowl Australia out again, but the Test and the Ashes are won. Not only have Australia lost this Test, they have lost their aura, their confidence and, in all probability, their captain. For the real humiliation is that of Michael Clarke. He looked a broken man after the last Test, on Thursday he looked shattered.
Broad can be an infuriating bowler. A year ago, many, including myself, questioned his position in the team, However, something has clicked in Broad's mind and in his action. He is bowling fuller, straighter and with enough movement to beat or take the edge on a regular basis. He is fine form and if he can maintain this, like Jimmy Anderson, he will overtake cricketing greats like Willis and Botham. Trueman has been matched already.
England ended the day at 274-4, making further mockery of Australia's inept display. Adam Lyth and Ian Bell fell cheaply but to excellent balls from Mitchell Starc. Alastair Cook (43) took England past Australia's total then Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, the Yorkshire pair, dismantled the tourist's attack. Bairstow rode his luck at times, but punished anything on the leg side. Root was class personified. If there is a better batsmen in the world today, he must be a fine player indeed.