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Friday, November 22, 2013

Australia's attack eviscerates England on day of upsets: Ashes T1/5 D2/5

Australia 295 (97.1ov, Haddin 94/153b/1x6 8x4, Johnson 64, Warner 49, Broad 24-3-81-6) & 0/65 (22ov, Warner 45*)  lead England 136 (52.4ov, Carberry 40, Johnson 17-2-61-4, Harris 15-5-28-3, Lyon 9-4-17-2) by 224 with all 10 second inns wickets in hand: Ashes T1/5 D2/5 at the Gabba, Brisbane.

What a day! In the middle session Australia's attack turned the Test on its head taking by  6/9 and reducing England from 2/82 to 8/91, and ultimately, after a very modest recovery, to 136.  David Warner and Chris Rogers' unbroken 65 stand rubbed salt into England's wounds and placed Australia in a position which, despite memories of a massive England recovery three years ago, looks impregnable.

The script written by many commentators (and me) had Brad Haddin scoring a valiant century and taking Australia to a total around 300, followed by England steadily making inroads into it. Neither happened:Haddin was run out for 94 leaving Australia 5 short of 300, then the visitors disintegrated spectacularly against Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon. 

Harris removed Alistair Cook cheaply, then after a wayward opening spell Johnson returned to remove Jonathan Trott in the last over before lunch: 2/55. When Peter Siddle missed a sharp return catch from Kevin Pietersen I thought that England's fortunes may have turned. 

I was wrong, again. 

Harris had KP well caught by George Bailey at short mid wicket, then Johnson bowling round the wicket had Michael Carberry caught at slip off a beauty, Nathan Lyon extracted enough bounce and turn to dismiss Ian Bell and Matt Prior off successive deliveries, and in short order Johnson snaffled Joe Root and Graeme Swann, leaving England's innings in tatters.

After failing to separate Rogers and Warner England slipped further behind and now must be hoping for the rain, which was forecast for days 1 and 2 but which hasn't materialised, to truncate the Test and let them regroup for the Perth match.

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