On a rather topsy-turvy opening day of the first Test of the 2013 Ashes, some of the key players on both sides couldn’t make as much of an impact as they were expected to. Here are the Flops of the Day for the first day:
Alastair Cook (13 runs off 26 balls; 2 fours)
Much was expected of the England captain if his side were to post a challenging total for the Australians. However, after hitting two sublime boundaries, Cook was deceived by the away-going delivery sent down by pacer James Pattinson, and his attempted cover drive only resulted in an outside edge that was smartly taken by Brad Haddin behind the stumps. Not an ideal start to the series from the skipper.
Kevin Pietersen (14 runs off 23 balls; 3 fours)
With KP around, there’s bound to be a lot of hype over his presence. On a comeback trail following an injury that had him out of the side for a long period, the former captain was expected to anchor the innings and hold the middle order together. For a brief while, it seemed as if he was getting into his groove, with three cracking fours. But Siddle had the last laugh, inducing an outside edge to another away-going delivery that flew to Michael Clarke at slip. Another game and another flop performance from KP.
Matt Prior (1 run off 7 balls)
The wicket-keeper batsman is known for his multiple gritty knocks that he has played throughout his career with the national side. However, he fell into an old trap employed by faster bowlers to get rid of big-hitting right-handers: he chased a full delivery outside off and looked to smash it through the line, but all he was able to do was chip a catch straight to short cover-point fielder Phil Hughes. If England are to win the Ashes, Prior will need to curb his attacking instincts and play himself in first before launching into his shots.
Shane Watson (13 runs off 14 balls; 3 fours)
The all-rounder was expected to score heavily after being moved to the opener’s slot in the batting order. He started well by hammering three boundaries, but got carried away with the momentum generated. A complete lack of footwork saw him edge a wide delivery outside off to Joe Root at third slip. Not your best foot forward, Watto!
Ed Cowan (0 runs off 1 ball)
This southpaw is nothing more than a deadweight for the Australian team. He played a rank poor shot off the first ball he faced, getting a thick outside edge to second slip. The No.3 slot isn’t suited for him – he got in only because of the indiscretion committed by David Warner. It was an extremely shoddy performance.
Michael Clarke (0 runs off 6 balls)
I thought long and hard about including the Australian captain in this list. The mainstay of this line-up, Clarke was done in by a beautiful delivery from James Anderson – one that nipped back in sharply and disturbed his stumps. The look on his face said it all – disbelief and shock were written all over it. It takes a special delivery to dismiss a special batsman – and Clarke will look to iron out this chink in his armour if Australia are to make a match of this Test.