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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Australia win Test by by 381 runs as England fold a second time: T1D4

Australia 295 & 7/401dec beat England 136 & 179 (81.1ov, Cook 65/195b/3x4, Johnson 21.1-7-42-5) by 381 runs: T1/5 D4/5 at The Gabba, Brisbane. Australia lead series 1-0.

Despite weather interruptions, some stout resistance by Captain Cook and more modest support from Kevin Pietersen 26, Ian Bell 32 and, at the end, Joe Root 26*, Australia bowled out England a second time for a well below par score and registered a thumping victory.

Mitchell Johnson once again had the best bowling figures, and continued his impressive (and to me unexpected) career revival. But each of the other three main bowlers did something: Ryan Harris 2/49 again sustained his pace and his menace, Nathan Lyon 2/46 had Cook, when he seemed impregnable, caught at the wicket by a beauty which turned and bounced , and Peter Siddle  induced an edge from Ian Bell just as he seemed to have settled in.

Australia's win was certainly well merited, but it, or at least the margin of victory, surprised me. Why? Because so many players performed above what I thought them capable of. This was especially so of  the bowlers. Johnson & Harris were, or looked, quicker than any of their England counterparts except for Stuart Broad in the first innings, while Nathan Lyon extracted more turn and bounce than Graeme Swann.

In batting it was a relief to see Michael Clarke regroup with a ton after his first innings woes, but we all know what he's capable of. David Warner, Brad Haddin & Johnson did more than their bit, covering for the modest returns of other top order players, each of whom should be given another chance.

As for England they had several  - too many - passengers in both departments. It was hard to credit that so many of the batters failed to do justice to their reputations, while only Broad among the bowlers  enhanced his.

Australia will be hoping that they can field the same attack in Adelaide next week ie that there are no injuries to the likes of Harris and Johnson (or Lyon).

England  now will travel to Adelaide via Alice Springs, where they play a 2 day match against a scratch side. They will have to think seriously about changing the XI. Chris Tremlett, despite have the best figures in Australi's second innings, looked more honest trundler than the tearaway of some years ago, while Jonathon Trott, despite his formidable record and reputation, went through the batting horrors in this game.

I find it hard to believe that England can ( or will) play so badly again.

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