Oz media claim 'moral lead'

Mitchell Johnson in full cry in Canterbury. (Adam Davy, AP)
Mitchell Johnson in full cry in Canterbury. (Adam Davy, AP)

Sydney - The Australian media were united in their view that the Mitchell Johnson-inspired humiliation of England at Lord's on Sunday marked a decisive shift in the balance of power in the Ashes series.

Chastened after England's victory in the opening test in Cardiff, their collective dander was very much up after the hosts were vanquished by 405 runs inside four days in London.

"From the 169-run loss in Cardiff to the blood bath at Lord's, it was the biggest turnaround in Ashes history," trumpeted Sydney's Daily Telegraph tabloid.

Melbourne's more venerable The Age said the margin of victory more than just tied up the series at 1-1 with three tests remaining.

"This was the sort of thumping that is worth one-and-a-half wins, and morally gives Australia the series lead," columnist Greg Baum wrote.

"In Cardiff, the sense was that Australia knew what they had to do about England, but didn't do it. Here, England gave the impression that they did not know what to do about Australia, and still don't."

Gideon Hague pointed out that at least on their last tour Down Under in 2013-14, England had been able to blame the unfamiliar environment for their 5-0 series defeat.

Having crumbled to defeat with a second innings total of 103 in 37 overs on a surface especially prepared to neuter Australia's pace bowling, however, there were no such excuses left to them.

"England lasted only five overs longer than their last, miserable stand at Sydney in January last year," he wrote in The Australian.

"But this was qualitatively different. England will now know that they have been rumbled. Australia can beat them anywhere."

There was praise for pace demon Johnson and his fellow "Mitchs" - Starc and Marsh - and concern for opener Chris Rogers after dizzy spells forced him off the pitch.

The Australian's Peter Lalor, meanwhile, suggested that the success of Marsh in replacing Shane Watson and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill taking over from Brad Haddin should help usher Michael Clarke towards the exit door.

The 34-year-old Australia captain struggled for runs even at Lord's while his anointed successor, Steve Smith, scored the first double century of his career.

"Michael Clarke looks to be approaching the end of his career and hopefully he won't hang on too long," Lalor wrote.

"He has been a fine captain and a great batsman, but his replacement is ready to go."

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