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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Australian batting crumbles again to disciplined England bowling: T4D3

Australia 98 & 6/169 (66ov, S Watson 54) need 246 more runs with 4 second innings wickets left to avoid losing by an innings to England 513 (159.4 ov, J Trott 168*, M Prior 85, A Cook 82, A Strauss 69. P Siddle 6/76) : T4 D3 at MCG

Some time, probably before lunch tomorrow, England will take Australia's last three wickets (the injured Ryan Harris is highly unlikely to bat), complete a well deserved innings victory over Australia and retain the Ashes.

Today, another huge crowd (68,773) turned up to watch Peter Siddle continue to bowl his heart out as England lost its last five wickets for 69. Then the Australian batting, set a daunting (?improbable) 515 to make England bat again, fell apart after a foolish runout (once again involving Shane Watson) followed mot long after by Tim Bresnan dismissing Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey in quick succession.

While Matt Prior didn't get a 100 his aggressive 85/119b (11x4) was a good counterpoint to Jonathan Trott's more measured 168*/345b (13x4). But for Siddle's 33.1-10-75-6 who knows when England would have declared.

Bresnan, as in the first innings, justified his selection. 15-7-26-3 is an excellent analysis, though most of the time, unlike Siddle, he had the benefit of someone keeping the other end tight.

Australia are in disarray. Neither Ponting nor Michael Clarke looked like building a big innings and their futures as captain and vice-captain will be discussed even more in the coming days. Despite their underperformance and, in Ponting's case, yesterday's intemperate on field outburst (for which he was fined 40% of his match fee), I think it's too late in this series to remove them.

But beyond that...

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