Ashes 2009, 4th Test, Headingley
England (102 and 263) lost to Australia (445) by an innings and 80 runs
England went into the fourth Test at Headingley knowing victory would see them reclaim the Ashes with one match to spare.
Unfortunately, they duly produced their worst performance of the summer and a rampant Australia levelled the series with a crushing innings-and-80-run win.
Andrew Strauss’ side were on the back foot from the first morning in Leeds, which saw them slump to 72 for six in the face of some accurate seam bowling.
The hosts were subsequently bundled out for 102, with Alastair Cook and Matt Prior the only men to reach double figures.
Peter Siddle led the way with the ball for Australia with figures of 5-21, while Stuart Clark - making his first appearance of the series at the expense of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz - claimed 3-18 from 10 overs.
England were unable to call on the services of the injured Andrew Flintoff, but his replacement, Steve Harmison, raised brief hopes of a fightback when he dismissed Simon Katich with his fourth delivery.
Yet that proved to be as good as it got for England’s bowlers as the tourists piled on the runs thereafter.
Skipper Ricky Ponting raced to 78 and Shane Watson continued his impressive start to life as an opener with a third consecutive half-century.
Michael Clarke and Marcus North then shared 152 for the fifth wicket and the latter went on to reach his third century in six Tests as Australia posted an imposing total of 445 - giving them a lead of 343.
Following their first-innings horror show, England got off to a more satisfactory start in their second dig, with Strauss and Cook sharing an opening partnership of 58.
However, the loss of Strauss for 32 - lbw to Ben Hilfenhaus - triggered another startling collapse and England ended day two on 82 for five, with nightwatchman James Anderson at the crease alongside Prior.
The duo departed early on Sunday morning and, although Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann briefly lifted the gloom with a breathtaking eighth-wicket stand of 108 in 12.3 overs (the second-fastest century partnership in Test cricket), England were dismissed for 263 shortly after lunch.
As a result, the two teams would head to the Brit Oval for the final Test with the series all-square.