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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

England discombobulated by Australian recovery: Fourth Test Day 2

The fall of wickets says something about the game: overnight 2/48, then 3/62 (Ponting), 4/79 (Hussey) and 5/84 (Clarke). 5/111 at lunch, while hardly a full blown recovery, raised slender hopes among Australian supporters that their team might just get its nose in front of England's modest first innings 159.

No wicket fell in the afternoon session: at tea the score was 5/226 (Hayden 109 , Symonds 61). The sixth wicket, Matthew Hayden's,
who was caught behind from a tired looking shot for 153, fell at 363.

England's dream morning turned into its nightmare afternoon as Hayden and Andrew Symonds pummelled the England bowlers, who had looked so good in the morning, and who didn't bowl particularly badly thereafter, though the pitch became progressively easier to bat on. Hayden has a formidable test career under his belt, but certainly not, after today, behind him; Symonds hitherto has been generally considered to be a very good one day player, but not up to test standard. Remember that he's only playing now because of Shane Watson's injury.

Form and critical perceptions of Symonds counted for nothing as the pair ground out runs, then began to play more of the shots we knew they could, even if we not have expected to see Symonds play his in a test match (but it was not a great surprise to see him reach his century with a six).

Hayden was more circumspect than the Hayden of only a few years ago, but the situation he was in required this of him, and he delivered. Symonds looked a little hesitant at first, or was this merely that he was striving to hold his aggressive impulses in check until he felt more at ease with the bowling? He took a long while to get off the mark and scored slowly by his standards for a time thereafter, but by stumps, with 154 not out (his first test century) he and Hayden,, had, by adding 279 for the fifth wicket, taken the match from a situation where it seemed to be within England's potential reach to one where it's now, unless other unforeseen circumstances intervene, in Australia's grasp.

Scorecard.


[Link to definition of "discombobulated" added 28 Dec 2006] .

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