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Friday, December 13, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust; if the Perth heat doesn't get England then the Aussie bats must...? T3D1

Australia 6/326 (87 ov, Smith 103*/191b/2x6 13x4, Warner 60/77b/1x6 8x4, Haddin 55/100b/2x6 5x4) v England T3/5 D1/5 at WACA, Perth. Australia, unchanged, won toss and chose to bat. England replaced Monty Panesar with Ton Bresnan.

The Ashes resumed in Perth hard on the heels (3 days) after England's comprehensive defeat at Adelaide.The first day's play followed a similar pattern to those at Brisbane and Adelaide, and we all now know how they finished, yet there seemed to be, at least for the first session and a half, a fresh resolution about England's play. This was exemplified by much improved fielding, notably Jimmy Anderson's sharp run out of Chris Rogers for an uncharacteristically rapid (and brief) 11/9b. The bowling was also sharp enough to winkle out most if the Australian top order- neither Shane Watson, nor Michael Clarke nor George Bailey contributed much.

David Warner batted well for 60, but he was fourth out at 129, and it was 5/143 when Bailey departed.
Haddin remained, but with Steve Smith, not Clarke, as his partner. And they stayed adding 138, when Mitchell Johnson joined Smith to keep the metaphorical heat on England, who showed signs of wilting in the literal heat (40+deg C according to the scoreboard thermometer).

Haddin was Haddin 2013 mode: enough said? As for Smith, we know that he can score runs, but aren't always sure how he manages to do so with his mannerisms and unorthodox blend of big hitting and defence. But he has a good temperament which today underpinned his innings, which has given the D1 honours to Australia. 

England are by no means on the ropes, but they wouldn't want to be chasing more than 400, or fielding for much longer in the WACA furnace, which is forecast to remain just that for the next few days.

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, if the Perth heat doesn't get to England then the Aussie bats must. And they have done.

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