LONDON: Graeme Swann bowled England into a commanding position on the second day of the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s on Friday.
The off-spinner took five wickets for 44 runs in 21.3 overs as Australia collapsed to 128 all out in reply to England’s first innings 361.
With so much time left, and not wanting to bat last on a wearing pitch, Ashes-holders England, 1-0 up in the five-match series after last week’s 14-run win at Trent Bridge, opted against enforcing the follow-on.
Peter Siddle then gave Australia hope with a return of three wickets for four runs in five overs.
England captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott both played on before Kevin Pietersen loosely carved the paceman to Chris Rogers at point.
Although England were 31 for three in their second innings at stumps, they still led by 264 runs.
Joe Root, missed on eight when wicketkeeper Brad Haddin didn’t go for a chance, was 18 not out and nightwatchman Tim Bresnan unbeaten on nought.
Swann was the first England spinner to take five wickets in an innings of a Lord’s Ashes Test since Hedley Verity (seven for 61 and eight for 43) managed the feat twice in 1934.
How Australia’s top-order performed was always likely to be a key factor in whether they could regain the Ashes and, unlike the first Test, the tail was unable to cover up the failings of the specialist batsmen.
Australia were all out inside 54 overs and, after opener Shane Watson was out for an innings top score of 30, they lost 10 wickets for 86 runs.
Bresnan took two wickets to spark an initial collapse that saw Australia’s 42 without loss transformed into 53 for three.
Watson, in the story of a Test-batting career that has yielded just two hundreds, looked good making 30.
But, playing across his front pad, Watson was lbw to Bresnan, recalled after England dropped Steven Finn.
Poor reviews cost Australia dear at Trent Bridge.
But Watson still asked for a referral only for New Zealand’s Tony Hill to confirm Sri Lankan on-field umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s decision.
Soon after lunch Rogers was lbw in bizarre fashion.
The left-hander, missed a pull at a Swann full toss, after the ball appeared to slip out of the bowler’s hand, and was ‘boxed’.
South African umpire Marais Erasmus gave Rogers out lbw for 15 on the left-hander’s Middlesex home ground.
Rogers opted against seeking a review, although replays later indicated the ball would have missed leg stump.
Phil Hughes fell next, out for one when he nicked a wide delivery from Bresnan to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Dharmasena quickly raised his finger but Hughes sought a review only for Hill to decide there was insufficient evidence to overturn the original verdict.
There was no doubt, however, about the manner in which Australia were four down.
Usman Khawaja, brought in after Australia axed Ed Cowan, was dropped on seven off Swann.
But he still gave his wicket away to the spinner on 14 when he holed out to Pietersen at mid-off.
Not for the first time, Australia captain and star batsman Michael Clarke, came in with his side in trouble.
But he couldn’t get them out of it, making 28 before he was lbw to a full length Stuart Broad delivery.
The tail didn’t last long, with Swann ending the innings when Ryan Harris holed out to Pietersen.
Earlier on Friday, Swann (28 not out) and Broad (33) added 48 runs for England’s last wicket.
Harris, recalled in place of the dropped Mitchell Starc for his first Test in over a year, secured his place on the Lord’s honours board with five for 72.