McGrath sympathises after 'massive blow'

Australia

Former fast bowler Glenn McGrath has conceded Australia will require plenty of zeal and character to bounce back from the 74-run loss – and subsequent three-nil series loss – endured on day four of the penultimate Ashes Test in Durham on Monday.

Former fast bowler Glenn McGrath has conceded Australia will require plenty of zeal and character to bounce back from the 74-run loss – and subsequent three-nil series loss – endured on day four of the penultimate Ashes Test in Durham on Monday.

Initially comfortable at 168 for two in pursuit of a testing 299-run target, the Aussies ultimately suffered a torrid collapse that saw the final eight wickets perish for a mere 56 runs at the Riverside Ground.

The hard work put in by openers Chris Rogers and David Warner, who scored 49 and 71 respectively, was entirely undone by a severe lack of support. Tail-ender Peter Siddle's 23 was as good as it got during the dramatic collapse, as seamer Stuart Broad's six-for capped England's historic turnaround.

"Australia will try to find the positives but you wonder where they can go from here. They've taken a massive blow and somehow they have to pick themselves up," McGrath wrote in <i>The Guardian</i>.

"The scary thing for Australia is that as a team England haven't really produced a complete performance yet. It has been one or two players per Test that have done the business.

Batsman Ian Bell has topped the series' run-scoring shots by a lengthy margin on the back of three centuries and a complementary half-ton. The home side, in fact, have cherished centurions in opener Joe Root at Lord's and the talented Kevin Pieteresen in Manchester too. The Aussies, though, have only seen skipper Michael Clarke and Rogers reach three figures once each.

"When you haven't had that experience of toughing it out for a victory you can be on top in a game, something happens and it's 'here we go again', and you end up losing another one you could have won," added McGrath.

"But it's not all down to attitude. England have got some hugely talented players and the one who has really impressed me is Bell. He hasn't won a Man of the Match award but for me he's been the Man of the Series."

The fifth – and final – Test will get underway at The Oval in London on Wednesday.

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