England skittled out Australia for just 128 before establishing a lead of 264 runs on day two of the second Ashes Test at Lord's as spinner Graeme Swann took five wickets to give Alastair Cook's side the upper hand.
Swann became the first spinner to take five wickets in an Ashes innings for England at Lord's since Hedley Verity back in 1934 as he finished with figures of 5-44, but the hosts faltered with the bat in the final session to end a bizarre day on 31-3 with Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen all dismissed by Peter Siddle.
After bowling England out for 361 in the morning session, it was a hapless showing with the bat from Michael Clarke's side as Shane Watson topscored with 30 and Swann caused havoc in good conditions for batting, but Siddle still managed to haul his side back into the contest with 3-4 from his five overs late on.
England will go into day three with a commanding lead of 264 runs with seven second-innings wickets remaining, but Cook's side will have to apply themselves considerably better with the bat if they are to assume total control of the Test having opted to not enforce the follow on.
Despite the late flurry of wickets, the day belonged to Swann with the Nottinghamshire spinner rampant in claiming his 16th five-wicket haul in 54 Tests, while Tim Bresnan – brought into the team to replace Steven Finn for this Test – made the key opening breakthrough on the stroke of lunch as the dangerous Watson was trapped lbw.
Clarke was trapped lbw by Stuart Broad for 28, while opener Chris Rogers - who was out in bizarre fashion - and Usman Khawaja were the only other batsmen to reach double figures in a hapless display from the tourists which saw a catalogue of disasters in using the DRS.
Indeed, Australia have only been successful with two of 11 DRS reviews so far in this series.
Rogers's dismissal was frankly absurd: the batsman missed a horrible full-toss from Swann and was given out lbw, compounding his mistake by not reviewing a decision that was clearly incorrect with the ball dipping down the leg side.
While Rogers should have used a review to overturn his dismissal, Phil Hughes (one) and Watson wasted Australia's two referrals for the innings as England capitalised on a chaotic period of play with the tourists again showing an alarming lack of clarity in using the system.
There were numerous nightmare dismissals for Australia in an inauspicious showing as Ashton Agar - the hero for his side with 98 in the first Test at Trent Bridge - was run-out for two in farcical fashion after a mix-up with partner Brad Haddin with his side unable to avoid their follow on target.
Earlier in the day, Ryan Harris finished with figures of 5-72 to get his name on the Lord’s honours board, but not until Broad, Swann and day one nightwatchman James Anderson resisted Australia by cobbling together an extra 72 runs for the final two wickets.
Harris stunned the Lord’s crowd by taking the wicket of Bresnan with the first ball of the day after England had resumed on 289-7 as the delivery took the edge and was caught behind.
But Anderson and Broad frustrated the tourists with a doughty partnership before Swann joined the latter for a last-wicket stand of 48 to take England to 361 in their first innings. It would prove more than sufficient after Australia responded with such a calamitous effort.
Having assumed complete control with a first-innings lead of 233 runs, England contrived to hand some of the momentum back to Clarke's side as Siddle bowled both Cook and Trott for eight and a duck respectively, before Pietersen carelessly drove straight to Rogers at point to hand the fast bowler his third wicket.
England surprisingly employed Bresnan as an upgrade on usual nightwatchman James Anderson at number five to protect the prolific Ian Bell, and he was left unbeaten alongside Joe Root (18) at the end of a pulsating and ultimately confusing day.
"Losing a wicket first ball wasn't ideal but I think we bounced back and bowling Australia out for 130, or whatever it was, we'd have bitten anyone's hand off if offered that," Swann told Sky television at stumps.
"I felt I bowled well last week, I didn't feel I bowled as well here but I'm pragmatic enough to know I'll take a five-for whenever they come. The plans for us will be to score as many as possible tomorrow and then have two days bowling on a dry pitch."
Cook's side remain in a strong position in the second Test after having won the first in thrilling fashion at Trent Bridge, but they will need to bat with considerably improved concentration and purpose as they look to build an insurmountable lead on day three. Swann will be waiting to make his mark again second time around.
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- Graeme Swann
- Alastair Cook