Blog by: Sougat
The start of the second day’s play was held up due to rain after a magnificent first day of cricket by the Aussies against hosts England. Very soon, the skies cleared up and it was back to business as usual.
Resuming on their overnight score of 307/4, Australia eventually declared at 492/9, courtesy a stupendous maiden Test century from Steven Smith and wonderful cameos down the order from debutant James Faulkner and Ryan Harris.
England made steady progress to finish at 32/0, 460 runs behind. It will be an interesting third day.
Here are the heroes of the day:
Steven Smith (138* off 241 balls – 16 fours, 2 sixes)
Continuing from where he had left off on the first day, the young all-rounder progressed to his maiden Test hundred with a massive six over long-on off part-time bowler Jonathan Trott. Knowing that Australia needed to score quickly, Smith put on rapid partnerships – 65 with Brad Haddin (30), 37 with James Faulkner (23), and 45 with Ryan Harris.
The 24-year-old may just have cemented his spot in the Test team with this superlative knock. Excellent stuff!
Ryan Harris (33 runs off 27 balls – 1 four, 2 sixes; 4-3-2-0)
The burly Queenslander proved that he was no mug with the bat as he went about toying with the English attack. Not many tailenders would take on Graeme Swann, but Harris clobbered the off-spinner for two huge sixes and smashed pacer Stuart Broad for a boundary through mid-off. He was finally dismissed by James Anderson, but by then, he had added 45 valuable runs with Smith to push Australia’s score towards the 500-run mark.
With the ball, Ryan was spot-on with pace, line and length and he did trouble openers Cook and Root quite a bit. Now, if Australia are to return home with a consolation win, it will be up to the powerfully-built Harris to knock England over twice.
James Faulkner (23 runs off 21 balls – 4 fours; 3-0-8-0)
The debutant left-hander scored his runs at a fast clip after joining Smith in the middle upon the dismissal of Brad Haddin. Starting off slowly, Faulkner picked up some momentum when Broad came on to bowl; he smashed three fours off the England T20 skipper in the 119th over of Australia’s innings, scoring 15 of the 16 runs that came off that over.
He flicked Chris Woakes for a boundary to square-leg before becoming the bowler’s maiden Test victim – caught by Trott off a short-ball on the leg-side.
Faulkner’s chief role will be with the ball – he has proven himself to be a wicket-taking bowler through his exploits in the IPL. He will look to give as much support to senior colleagues Harris, Siddle and Starc, and try to peg England back with quick strikes on the morrow. So far, a good debut!
England have a long fight on their hands, and if they manage to resolve their opening woes, they should be able to secure a draw in this game. Till then, it’s the wait-and-watch policy for me.