Aust humbled in tour game after collapse

Australia have suffered another embarrassing collapse on their Ashes tour, this time against Northamptonshire in a drawn tour game.

Pat Cummins finished 82 not out, his 98-run stand with Nathan Lyon ensuring Australia avoided being bowled out in Northampton.

Australia finished 9-312 in response to the hosts’ 396.

Durham were the most recent county side to force Australia to follow on, in 1993.

Earlier on Sunday it looked like Northants might end that streak.

The three-day clash was supposed to be a tune-up for the fifth Test, which starts at the Oval on Thursday.

Instead it was a source of further misery for a squad that meekly relinquished the urn last week.

Day one was washed out and day two was dominated by Northamptonshire, the locals scoring freely and quickly.

Cummins top-scored for the visitors, while Mitch Marsh scored 68 after a woeful top-order collapse of 5-74.

Cummins and Lyon pushed Australia’s innings into a third session, but both were given a chance early.

George Munsey put down a straightforward catch at point when Lyon was on 17, while Cummins was yet to score when Josh Cobb dropped a catch at first slip.

The visitors resumed on Sunday at 1-13.

They continued to look a side low on motivation, playing a match devoid of meaning.

It started with Steve Smith.

The 26-year-old will assume the captaincy after the fifth Test, but was leading the side in the fixture as Michael Clarke was rested.

Smith lasted six balls before prodding at a delivery from Maurice Chambers, the resultant edge flying to keeper David Murphy.

Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges were also out edging, while Shane Watson was trapped lbw by Ben Sanderson.

It came against an inexperienced Northamptonshire attack, hardly a harbinger of hope for the tourists as they prepare to face Stuart Broad in London.

It’s not the first time the East Midlands town has been a source of angst for Australia.

Northamptonshire forced Don Bradman’s 1930 tourists to follow on, while Bishen Bedi’s left-arm spin helped them defeat Ian Chappell’s side in 1972.

Mitch Marsh, who is expected to be recalled for the upcoming dead rubber against England, ensured Australia at least avoided another embarrassingly low total.

The 23-year-old looked comfortable at the crease and struck 11 boundaries before attempting to drive another off paceman Richard Gleeson.

The allrounder had already underlined his importance to the XI with a haul of 4-56.

Coach Darren Lehmann admitted last week it was a mistake to leave him out of the XI that lost by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge.

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