England skittle Australia – Adelaide, day one

James Anderson takes the plaudits

From Sam Collins in Adelaide

Close: second Test, day one, Adelaide
Match score: England 1-0 (Strauss 0*, Cook 0*), Australia 245 (Hussey 93, Haddin 56, Anderson 4-51 )

Session score: Australia 86-5, England 1-0 England win
Session in six words: England finish off Aussies, then survive

So England achieved the unlikely, skittling Australia for 245 on the bowler’s graveyard. It was the reverse of Brisbane – a pitch with a bit of movement and live grass that no one predicted. England were led superbly by Jimmy Anderson, who pitched the ball up and let it swing, crucially making Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke play early in their innings. For their part Australia ran miserably, wafted fatally and save for Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin batted with the sheepishness of a side who had found themselves 2-3 in front of their home crowd, their worst start since the famous ‘sticky dog’ Test at Brisbane in 1950.

From the moment Jonathan Trott ‘cooked’ Simon Katich Australia looked ragged, but in a horrible, dry heat England were superb in the field, making sure that Australia could never get themselves back into the match on what was still a good pitch. Hussey counter-attacked with Watson, North and then Haddin, but when he fell pushing at an improving Swann seven short of his hundred his team were really ‘under the pump’ as they might say out here.

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UDRS controversy followed when Swann removed Ryan Harris via a pretty dodgy lbw next ball – umpire Doctrove upheld his decision despite clear indications of an inside edge – but it was difficult to begrudge England the luck that had deserted them in Brisbane. Swann’s two wickets will have lifted him, and that Stuart Broad and Steve Finn were not at their best proves just how well England did today. A good start is essential tomorrow, and if Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss, who appeared to exchange words with Ricky Ponting as the players left the pitch, can survive the first hour, they will leave the hosts facing their fourth traumatic days play in a row.

The Adelaide Oval before play

Tea: second Test, day one, Adelaide
Match score: Australia 159-5 (Haddin 2*, Hussey 71*)

Session score: Australia 65-2 England win
Session in six words: North gives England another welcome gift

Cricket in Adelaide is as much of a social occasion as a cricket match for the local members. Step out behind the new West Stand and you could be at a Henley or Ascot – grand white marquees dominate, while ladies in their best summer dresses dot the scene like flowers. People are laughing, drinking and as far as you could tell paying little or no attention to the cricket, save maybe the odd glance to the big screen. The Test match and the Australia Day ODI are two of the City’s most notorious social occasion, and Australia’s Free Settlers aren’t ones to let sport get in the way of a good gossip.

It’s probably a good thing they weren’t watching Marcus North’s dismissal, or the green-and-gold groan that echoed round the Adelaide Oval would have been even louder. North delighted in being a statisticians nightmare – everything about his innings pointed to a century, primarily the fact that he had reached double-figures. Instead, he dabbled curiously at a short, wide one from Finn and the debate will go on.

Watson had gone straight after lunch, slashing at Anderson, but Hussey accumulated, slower this time (27 between lunch and tea, 54 before lunch) – the one that England cannot shift. They look a bowler light with Finn off-colour, although Swann has been able to regain some control this time round. On paper Australia are a batsman light, so if England’s best chance of finishing things today involves breaking the H bombs and attacking Ryan Harris and co. with the new ball.

Not that the members would notice – behind the West stand they will keep on drinking and laughing, and come back and do it all again tomorrow.

Another incredible scorecard

From Sam Collins in Adelaide

Lunch: second Test, day one, Adelaide
Match score: Australia 94-3 (Watson 50*, Hussey 36*)
Session score: Australia 94-3 England win
Session in six words: Anderson gives England an incredible start

Before this series, when people thought of James Anderson in Australia, they tended to remember five wickets at 82.60 in 2006-07. That’s fair enough. It’s tricky to look past figures like that. But scratch that head a bit more and they might just stumble upon the innings that made him in the first place.

It was back in January 2003 that a 20-year-old Anderson returned figures of 10-6-12-1 in a Sydney one-dayer, nameless and numberless but bowling his overs straight through and stifling Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan and Damien Martyn to book his World Cup place. It got better  – swinging yorkers against Pakistan in South Africa, five wickets on Test debut against Zimbabwe and a one-day hat-trick against Pakistan. Oh Jimmy, Jimmy…

We know what happened next. Injuries, loss of confidence, change of action all meant inconsistency.  He became Daisy, the most clichéd of girls names. His Cricinfo profile still talks of Mother Goose.

Finally, this morning, Jimmy became the bowler he had threatened in 2003. Bowling full, straight, tight and with swing, he got Australia’s captain for a Golden Duck on the occasion of his 150th Test match, and at a time when his leadership is as precarious as it has ever been. Then he did his deputy in the next over. At a time when England needed their attack leader, having lost the toss and been stuck in the field on the ultimate flat one, he was there, the only blemish a tough drop off his own bowling to reprieve Mike Hussey.

It is moments like those that confirm that excellence this summer was not that of a flat-track bully, and that makes the bad luck at Brisbane bearable.

Down the other end Steven Finn nursed figures of 6-0-35-0. With Graeme Swann, Finn is the prime target for the Aussie batsmen. Four years ago that was Jimmy. Let’s hope it doesn’t take Finn quite as long to go through the same process.

Anderson’s success meant another extraordinary start, two wickets in the first over to add to Andrew Strauss’ third baller at The Gabba, with Australia 3-2, or 2-3 depending on which side of the world you sit. Jonathan Trott started it, steadying himself to throw down one stump coming across from midwicket. Anderson caught the mood, and Australia were in ruins. The pitch was not the problem – it is still a batsman’s paradise – this morning was all about impetus. Mike Hussey would vouch for that, as he and Shane Watson counter-attacked splendidly, Hussey playing the sort of knock that Graham Thorpe made his trademark. They crouched in the bushes until Anderson had gone, and then pelted Finn with pebbles and the odd rock.

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One thought on “England skittle Australia – Adelaide, day one

  1. Pingback: England skittle Australia – Adelaide, day one (via Chasing Australia) | The Ashes 2010 – 2011

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