The time came again last night for the duvets and pillows to be shifted downstairs in preparation for the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval, one of the more attractive grounds in world cricket. The pitch looked like a belter to bat on, with both captains certain to bat should they win the toss. Ricky Ponting did exactly that and had no hesitation in telling Mark Nicholas “We’re gonna have a bat, mate.” I hope I wasn’t the only England fan thinking “oh dear” as I was so sure it was going to be a run fest with all the Australian batsmen filling their boots for fun. However, a run fest it was not, as James Anderson and co. had other ideas.
|James Anderson dominates on Day 1|
Just when England fans were soiling themselves after Andrew Strauss cut straight into the hands of gully, after only the third ball of the game, Australians began to feel just what that felt like. Except worse. Simon Katich, was runout after a sloppy bit of ball-watching and a refusal to scuttle to the other end in time. The crab, obviously distracted by a dead fish lying on the outfield, thought it would be more beneficial to fill his crabby stomach than his boots with runs. Credit where credit is due though, it was a marvellous throw from Jonathan Trott sprinting round to square leg and unleashing the ball with one stump to aim at. With Ricky Ponting at the crease on what is supposed to be a brilliant wicket, is enough to give anybody a headache but James Anderson produced an outstanding delivery, aimed in at the batsman and then straightening slightly to take the outside edge. Graeme Swann made no mistake at slip and suddenly Australia were 0-2 after only 5 balls.
Michael Clarke soon decided that he missed Ponting’s company and thought it would be best if he went back to the pavilion to give him a cuddle as soon as possible. He was dismissed for 3, snicking off in similar fashion to Ponting, again to Graeme Swann. With Australia 2-3 after 3.1 overs, Michael Hussey came to the crease on the back of an almighty ton at the Gabba. Hussey and his partner, Watson, dug deep and put on 94 for the third wicket.
Australia’s middle order saved what would have been an embarrassing total with Hussey, North and Haddin scoring 93, 26 and 56 respectively. James Anderson finished with superb figures of 19-4-51-4. The lower order added little to the total and Australia were bowled out within a day for 245 after 85.5 overs. This gave the England openers one over to negotiate, which was done successfully at 1-0 at stumps.