Aussies face century-old Ashes ignominy

Michael Clarke’s men travel to Nottingham on Sunday knowing one more defeat will end their hopes of retaining the Ashes.

The stakes couldn’t be higher when the fourth Test starts on Thursday at Trent Bridge, the hosts holding a 2-1 series lead.

England are on the cusp of winning a fourth consecutive home Ashes, something they haven’t achieved since Australia recorded their first away series win in 1899.

Darren Lehmann wants his charges to block out the added drama that comes with such an occasion.

“It’s a game of cricket, got to try and win it. Pretty simple,” Lehmann said.

“You can’t worry about the scoreline, you’re playing a game of cricket.

“You’re trying to win every game of cricket you play.”

Australia were thumped by eight wickets at Edgbaston, with underperforming skipper Clarke their most worrying concern.

“We’re playing with 10 players so the captain needs to get off the plane,” Clarke said in the post-match ceremony after scores of 10 and three.

Adam Voges and Mitch Marsh also struggled with the bat in Birmingham, where the tourists’ misfiring middle suffered collapses of 5-60 and 4-30.

Australia’s pace attack of Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc struggled for control.

Everything that went right in the second Test, went wrong in the third Test.

It was an incredible thud back to earth for a side that crushed England by 405 runs at Lord’s.

“We’ve got to firstly play better than we did here,” Lehmann said.

“Get back to playing the way we want to play. Get our basics right and cope with the pressure better than we did here.

“It’s just disappointing.”

Clarke found it “very hard to explain” the sudden turnaround.

Johnson was regularly taunted by a hostile Edgbaston crowd, who were in raptures as Steve Finn grabbed a career-best haul of six wickets in Australia’s second dig.

At times it seemed to rattle the visitors.

“It’s a tough game, there’s a lot of pressure there with a packed house and a loud stadium,” Lehmann said.

“We’ve just got to learn to get better at coping with those scenarios.

“Credit to England, I thought they bowled really well. A lot better than we did in those conditions, so that’s something we’ve got to improve on as well.”

Lehmann suggested Clarke would be given “as long as he needs” to find some form with the bat.

Voges may not be so lucky, with Shaun Marsh well placed for a recall after scoring tons in tour games against Kent and Derbyshire.

“We’ve just got to cop the criticism … and work out what the best XI is to win the next Test match, which is pretty important,” Lehmann said.

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