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McGrath & Co. run over Hussain’s England

Brisbane: Australia crushed England by 384 runs to win the opening Ashes Test inside four days on Sunday after a humiliating batting collapse by the tourists — the worst in 100 years.

Set 464 to win after Australia declared their second innings at 296 for five, England crumbled to 79 all out in a little over two hours. Mark Butcher scored a defiant 40, more than half his team’s score, but just two others made it to double figures as the tourists recorded their lowest-ever total in a Test match at the Gabba.

Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath captured four second innings wickets to finish with eight for the game but lost out on the Man of the Match honours to Matthew Hayden, who scored twin centuries to become just the seventh player to score hundreds in each innings of an Ashes Test.

Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist also completed half-centuries in Australia’s second innings, allowing Steve Waugh to declare after lunch with a massive lead of 463.

Needing to bat through more than four sessions to force a draw, England could not have made a worse start in their battle for survival when openers Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick were both dismissed in the first two overs.

Vaughan went for a duck, trapped leg before wicket by McGrath from the third ball of the innings, and Trescothick was caught for one by wicketkeeper Gilchrist off Jason Gillespie with the total on three.

England captain Hussain and Butcher survived to tea but the wickets began tumbling immediately after the re-start including three inside eight balls.

Hussain went for 11 with the total on 33, followed by John Crawley and Alec Stewart for ducks. Crawley was run out when Gilchrist threw down the stumps from the opposite end of the pitch while Stewart got a pair after his second-ball duck in the first innings.

Butcher’s resistance finally ended on 40 when Shane Warne found the edge and the leg spinner then mopped up the final wicket of Andy Caddick as England’s innings ended abruptly in the 29th over.

England’s number 11, Welsh paceman Simon Jones, did not bat after rupturing his knee ligaments while fielding on Thursday.

Waugh had declared his team’s second innings an hour after lunch with Gilchrist in full cry after making 60 not out from just 59 balls.

Three figures

Hayden began the day on 40 with Australia 111 for two and wasted no time adding to his already massive run tally following his 197 from the first innings.

He brought up his first 50 off 104 balls and his second in 45 deliveries with a flurry of boundaries, reaching three figures in 212 minutes with a single off all-rounder Craig White.

Hayden became the fourth Australian to score two hundreds in an Ashes Test, joining Warren Bardsley, Arthur Morris and Waugh.

His innings came to a surprising end immediately after he reached three figures when he hit a return catch to left-arm spinner Giles on 103 for a match tally of exactly 300.

Giles, England’s best bowler in the first innings with four wickets, claimed another scalp when he removed Damien Martyn two overs later as the pitch started to take sharp turn.

Martyn also started the day on 40 and was content to play the anchor role as Hayden went on his run-scoring spree, but still managed to bring up his 11th Test half-century off 90 balls.

He shared a 153-run stand with Hayden for the third wicket but left just after his partner, out for 64 when Giles found the edge and Hussain held a regulation catch at slip. Gilchrist was promoted up the order to help accelerate Australia’s run-rate and signalled his intentions when he smashed Giles over his head for six off the second ball he faced.

He finished unbeaten on 60 with Darren Lehmann not out 20 after Waugh, still struggling for form, was caught by Trescothick at slip off Caddick for 12.

‘Hard for England’

Waugh offered little hope to a shattered England side.

“There’s no doubt England will find it hard to come back from this, it’s a pretty devastating loss,” Waugh said after Australia won by 384 runs on the fourth day. “But that’s why you play Test cricket, to really see whether you can come back from adversity, and they’ve certainly found themselves in a tough position now. In the end it’ll probably be written up as an easy Test match win but we had to fight back hard on day three,” Waugh said.

“I think England will have a lot more in store for us in the rest of the series. They’ve already shown that they can come back so there’s no reason why they can’t do it again.”

Australia wrapped up victory inside four days when they bowled out England for 79 on Sunday, England’s lowest Test innings total in Australia since 1904.

Hussain said his team had nothing to be ashamed of after their massive loss. He blamed his team’s defeat inside four days on nerves but said they had nothing to be embarrassed about because they had tried their best.

“We’ve had worse Tests than this,” Hussain said. “If any player didn’t give it his all then they should be embarrassed for letting their country down.

“But I believe in my players and I believe all 11 of them gave it their best shot.”

“Maybe it was the build-up, maybe it was the stadium, the noise, the importance of the game, I just don’t know,” Hussain said. (Reuters)

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