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Friday, December 03, 2010

England's match for the taking, and after only one day: T2D1

England 0/1 (1 ov) trail Australia 245 (85.5 ov, M Hussey 93, B Haddin 56, S Watson 51, J Anderson 4/51) by 244 runs: T2D1 at Adelaide Oval.

England are in a dominant position after only one day of the Second Test. Their bowling, fielding and general teamwork have squashed Australia's attempts at revival after a disastrous start.

Yes, 245 is much better than 3/2 (see photo on left and note names) but it's a poor total on a wicket which is playing well and on a hot day (almost 35 deg) which might have seen the four pronged English attack wilt. But it didn't: Jimmy Anderson bowled magnificently and was well supported by Graeme Swann (29 overs for 70 runs), Stuart Broad and, after a loose start, Steve Finn.

The first few minutes were bizarre, almost surreal. In the first over Simon Katich was run out by a direct hit from Jonathan Trott at forward square leg before he'd faced a ball. Then Ricky Ponting was well caught in the slips by Graeme Swann from the first ball he faced. Michael Clarke didn't last long and became Jimmy Anderson's (and Swann's) second victim, at which point one wondered (feared?) how low Australia's total would be.

3/2 almost became 4/12 when Anderson missed a hard return catch from Mike Hussey, who then built a partnrship with Shane Watson which took the score to 96 at lunch without further loss.

Alas, Watson fell immediately after the interval for a pugnacious 51/94b (1x6, 7x4), Marcus North got off the mark and then played some good strokes in support of Hussey but just as he seemed to be well set, and not long before tea, he played a causal shot to Finn and was caught behind.

Enter Brad Haddin, who put his head down and supported Hussey, taking the score to 5/159 at tea after a gritty afternoon session saw only 65 runs added from 30 overs. The pair continued in their Gabba vein so it was a surprise when Hussey, who'd looked set for a century was caught at slip off the persistent Swann for an estimable 93/183b (8x4), triggering another,though not unexpected given the reputations and records of numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11, collapse . Ryan Harris was adjudged lbw off the next ball (the second "golden duck" of the innings), and none of the others lasted long apart from Haddin who hit out and was last out for 56/95b (1x6, 3x4), leaving England an over to face, something they and almost everyone else wouldn't have predicted before the first ball was bowled.

Tomorrow England should be able to take a comfortable first innings lead. First innings scores of 500+ have been common in recent Adelaide Tests, so if England manage a lead of, say, 250 Australia will be praying that the rain which is forecast for the last few days of the match falls in sufficient quantities to help it, together with some more resolute second innings batting, to a draw.


Fox Sports report with video highlights
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