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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Another meltdown leaves England without any wheels left to fall off: T5. D2

Australia 326 & 4/140  (30ov, Rogers 73*/89b/9x4, Anderson 2/30) lead England 155 (58.5ov, Stokes 47, Broad 30*, Siddle 13-4-23-3, Johnson 13.5-3-33-3, Harris 14-5-36-3) by 311 runs with 6 wkts in hand: T5/5 D2/5) at SCG.

This was an embarrassingly one sided day. Alistair Cook was lbw padding up to the second ball of the day: 2/8. Things then went from bad to execrable: 3/14 (night watchman Anderson), 4/17 (Pietersen), 5/23 (Bell) before Ben Stokes marshalled the lower order to increase England's total sixfold against a pace attack at the top of its mental and technical game.

But, Stokes and Stuart Broad's tail end biffing aside, it was  a pathetic effort. Even a moderate response - Chris Rogers excepted -from Australia in its second innings didn't redeem the situation much (if at all).

Australia now has three days in which to secure its fifth straight victory of the 2013-14 Antipodean Ashes. England have no more wheels left to fall off. For Australia the focus should, once the seemingly inevitable victory in this match has been achieved, shift to next month's three Test series in South Africa, in particular how to paper over the cracks in its top order batting which were evident once again today. 

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