Finally the Australian batting came good, albeit for a brief time, on the fourth day of the second Ashes Test against England. If it was pace and swing that did them in during the first game, it was spin that became their nemesis in this one. Eventually, after sporadic resistance from the tail, England took the final wicket with three balls to spare, winning by 347 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Here are the Heroes for the Day:
Usman Khawaja (54 runs off 133 balls – 7 fours)
After playing a horrendous stroke that led to his dismissal in the first innings, the left-hander played a steady innings at No.3 after his side lost three quick wickets with just 36 runs on the board. Khawaja showed how well he could play the pull shot as he scored three boundaries off Stuart Broad and one off part-timer Joe Root, all through the mid-wicket region.
He added 98 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Michael Clarke before edging a flighted delivery from Root to Anderson at second slip. Despite Australia’s eventual defeat, Khawaja would be somewhat satisfied with the way he batted.
Michael Clarke (51 runs off 85 balls – 7 fours)
Coming in with his side reeling at 36/3, the Australian captain needed to post a substantial score in pursuit of the mammoth target of 583. Drawing on all his experience, Clarke unleashed the booming drives as he and Usman Khawaja went about resurrecting the innings.
He took the attack to Graeme Swann, dancing down the track and lofting the off-spinner over mid-on for a boundary. But it was the leg-side flick to yet another flighted delivery from Joe Root that brought about his downfall. The skipper needs to cut out that stroke from his arsenal if he wants to play a long innings in the next three games. Fine effort though!
James Pattinson (35 runs off 91 balls – 3 fours)
The young pace bowler played a remarkable innings at No.10 as he ensured that his side did not fold without putting up a decent fight. Joining Peter Siddle, Pattinson added 30 runs for the ninth wicket before combining with Ryan Harris (16 not out) to add 43 for the last wicket.
He became Swann’s fourth victim after the spinner trapped him in front with a flighted delivery on middle and off. He managed to hit three boundaries, but chasing a huge score finally proved to be too much for him and his fellow tail-enders. Courageous effort!
Graeme Swann (4/78 in 30.3 overs)
The wily off-spinner was in his elements right from the first innings as he extracted considerable turn from a dry pitch and used the drift very well against the opposition. He started the slide by bowling opener Chris Rogers (6) with a ball that pitched on off and came in with the drift.
A similar delivery accounted for the embattled Phil Hughes (1) before Brad Haddin offered no stroke to a flighted ball that pitched on middle and was out lbw. Swann took the final wicket in the last over of the day to finish with a match haul of 9/122. Excellent stuff from the veteran spinner!
Joe Root (2/9 in 7 overs)
In all honesty, much of the second Test belonged to the young Yorkshire batsman. After getting out for 180 in the morning, Root turned the game on its head when he took out both Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja with identical deliveries.
Three of his seven overs were maidens, and he was able to tie down the remaining Australian batsmen with some clever variations. No wonder he was chosen as the Man of the Match. A remarkable turnaround for the youngster after three batting failures in his first four innings of the Ashes!