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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Siddle's special day with hat trick gives Australia upper hand : T1D1

Australia 0/25 (7 ov) are 235 runs behind England 260 (76.5 ov, I Bell 76, A Cook 67, P Siddle 6/54 inc hat trick) Ashes T1/5, D 1/5 at the Gabba, Brisbane.

At tea England were 4/172 and seemed to have had slightly the better of the day's play.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat they'd recovered from the hiccups of 1/0 (Andrew Strauss caught in the gully off the match's and Ben Hilfenhaus' third ball) and 4/125. Paul Collingwood 4 had failed, while Jonathan Trott 29/53b and Kevin Pietersen 43/70b couldn't build on promising starts but Alistair Cook and Ian Bell looked solid.

After the interval Cook and Bell continued the recovery until, at 197, England's wheels fell off in one over. Peter Siddle, who many (including me) wondered whether he should have been included at the expense of Doug Bollinger, induced Cook to edge to slip, then next ball bowled Matt Prior. He completed his hat trick by trapping Stuart Broad lbw with his next.

One well set batsman, as Cook's 67/168b (5x4) suggests, one with a record as a good lower order player and the third with a recent Test century under his belt: not a bad trio of scalps. And all on his birthday!

After this Bell tried to rally the tail, with moderate success. Graeme Swann became Siddle's sixth victim before Bell, when 76/131b (8x4), hit out and gave Xavier Doherty his first Test wicket. Doherty, who'd earlier in the day not yielded to Pietersen's attempt to knock him off his length, polished off Jimmy Anderson to return a respectable 2/41 on debut.

But it was Siddle's 16-3-54-6 which has put Australia well on top after D1. The conditions gave some assistance to the bowlers, so 260, while a disappointing total, may not be a bad one. Provided, that is, the the England attack performs as well as its recent reputation has led many English supporters to hope, and Australians, bearing in mind their shaky batting order, to fear.


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