Saturday, 4 December 2010

AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND - 2nd Ashes Test 2010: The Adelaide Oval, Day 1

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.

Friday, 3 December 2010

AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND - 1st Ashes Test 2010: The Gabba, Day 5

Apologies for the tardiness of this post, my only excuse is that I’ve been far too celebratory over the last few days to write one.  Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true but this is what happened on Day 5 of an incredible Test match.

England resumed the day at 309-1 after 109 overs, the battling Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott at the crease on 132* and 54* respectively.  What ensued proved to be a quite sensational day’s play with no English wickets falling throughout the day.  Alistair Cook blasted his way to a career best and record-smashing 235* and Trott stroked his way to an elegant 135*.  It is not often you here the commentators say things like “And now England are just annihilating Australia’s bowlers”, and if we’re going to be critical of that proclamation, it can be said that it’s an under-statement.  Cook and Trott, under normal circumstances, would be up in front of a jury, charged with murdering six Australian bowlers, to the point where they might as well have bowled underarm.  We all know what an underarm delivery looks like, thanks to a certain Australian character so demonstrations would not have been needed…

Cook & Trott soak up the applause for their record stand of 329
The Australians were poor in the field as well with Mitchell Johnson, after being smashed all round the park, dropping a relatively simple catch by Test match standards.  Michael Clarke added to the list of drops with the most straight-forward regulation slip catch you could possibly see.  Not that it would have made much difference to the outcome of the game, but it certainly gave the Barmy Army something extra to cheer about.

England eventually declared on 517-1 after 152 overs, bringing an end to battering to the Australians.  Simon Katich and Shane Watson walked out to the crease to face England’s pumped bowlers and were reduced to 5-1 when Broad snared Katich to an almighty roar from the English fans.  The obdurate Ricky Ponting, however, did not add to the fun and finished the day 51* with his partner, Watson, on 41* and the Australian team on 107-1 after 25 overs.  The game was deemed to be a draw with both teams shaking hands over a quite spectacular game.

With the next test at Adelaide, widely considered to be a batsman’s paradise, hopefully we can expect more of the same from England’s batsmen.