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Friday, December 27, 2013

England bowlers turn Test around as Australia's batting collapses: Ashes T4 D2

Australia 9/164 (73.3ov, Rogers 61/171b/8x4, Haddin 43*/49b/1x6 5x4, Anderson 16-4-50-3, Broad 16.3-5-30-3, Bresnan 18-6-24-2) trail England 255 (100ov, Pietersen 71/161b/1x6 5x4, Johnson 24-4-63-5, Harris 24-8-47-2) by 91 with 1 1st inns wkt in hand.

When Mitchell Johnson, carrying on from where he left off on D1, scythed through England's remaining batting cheaply in the morning session, it seemed as if this Test was following the script of the first three matches. That Kevin Pietersen, who failed to continue in his D1 resolute mode, was one of Johnson's victims, further reinforced this perception. 255 looked an inadequate total on a wicket which seemed to be playing well, if not as quick as the WACA one.

Yet that was where the similarities ended - except that for the first time since the opening day of this series England's attack bowled like Australia's: as a disciplined group. By doing so they exposed some frailties (both known and suspected)  of the home batting. Just when a century was needed to underpin a respectable response none was forthcoming. 

After the four top order series-to-date century makers fell (having added 48 runs between them) Chris Rogers, who'd ground his way to 61, played a loose stroke to Tim Bresnan, leaving Australia in strife at 5/112. Despite some characteristic aggression from Brad Haddin wickets fell regularly as the bowlers maintained their stranglehold. At stumps England were, in spite of their morning session meltdown, firmly on top: the first time in the series that, after two days' play, this can be said. 

In the day 13 wickets fell for 193 from 84.3 overs. Another day for the Test cricket aficiando, of whom there must have been a good number among the 71,000+ spectators. With the bowlers of both sides on top so far Australia will have its work cut out to avoid defeat. 
<a href="">Scorecard </a>

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