After making the English bowlers toil for the entire first day, Australia took a stranglehold on the match as they marched along to declare their first innings at a mammoth 527/7. The lower order got some useful runs in order to make the final total look as imposing as possible.
In reply, England were on a fairly steady course until Peter Siddle decided to join the party with the ball, picking up two wickets in 12 balls to leave the Poms at 52/2. It will be a fairly difficult task as the home team needs to put in yet another sterling performance with the bat.
Here are the quick flicks for the game:
Michael learns to rock, “Westlife” pops him out
Having completed his first century of this edition of the Ashes, skipper Michael Clarke was looking set for a double century. He progressed to 187 – replicating Stan McCabe in the Bodyline series – before being castled by Stuart Broad, who completed 200 Test wickets in the process. It was a terrific knock from the captain and it may turn out to be a match-winning one.
Much was expected of David Warner after Steve Smith fell for 89. However, the dashing southpaw, in the news for all the wrong reasons, was deceived by a flighted delivery from Graeme Swann. It landed on off and took the outside edge, where Jonathan Trott snapped up the deflection from wicket-keeper Matt Prior’s pad.
A confused Warner took the review and the on-field decision (correct for once) stayed. Not exactly a super comeback for “Mario!”
Haddin and Starc turn it on
Down the batting order, wicket-keeper Brad Haddin and left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Starc scored a rapid 97 runs in just 117 balls as they pushed Australia’s total past the 500-run mark.
Interestingly, Starc outscored his senior partner; making an unbeaten 66 in just 71 balls, he hit nine boundaries compared to Haddin’s six.
Swann takes five, Lyon troubles the Poms
England off-spinner Graeme Swann picked up yet another five-wicket haul in Tests, but he had to work hard for his scalps. He dismissed Warner and Peter Siddle, but ended up conceding 159 runs in the process.
Both Clarke and Smith, and later Haddin and Starc, played him nicely and without much trouble. It turned out to be another tough day in the office for the veteran.
In contrast, young Aussie off-spinner Nathan Lyon troubled the English batsmen with his spin and the amount of bounce he extracted from the pitch. These are ominous signs for England now.
“Dermie” strikes back
Victoria fast bowler Siddle was brought on as the fifth bowler by Clarke after England had progressed to 47/0. Soon he took out the hero of the last game, Joe Root, with a ball that angled in towards the off-stump.
Towards the end of the day’s play, Siddle removed night-watchman Tim Bresnan, inducing a pull shot that went off the back thigh to Haddin. Bresnan was left confused as Australia were on top thanks to “Dermie!”
It will be an interesting third day of cricket, especially with the threat of rain looming over the ground. England trail by 475 runs and have eight wickets in hand. Negotiating Lyon won’t be easy, and if Clarke decides to roll his arm over, the hosts might be in deeper trouble.