Anderson takes England to the brink, Sydney, day four

Ho hum. The Sydney Morning Herald

Close: fifth Test, day four, Sydney
Match score: Australia 213-2 (Smith 19*, Siddle 4*) and 280 (Johnson 53) trail England 644 by 151 runs with eight second innings wickets remaining
Session score: Australia 136-5 England win
Session in six words: Anderson and Tremlett superb for England

Alastair Cook will be the man of this series, 766 runs in seven innings demands that but Jimmy Anderson deserves a mention. The man who couldn’t bowl in Australia has, well, he’s shown that he can bowl in Australia, and do it bloody well. The wickets of Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke this evening took him to 23 for the series, eight more than the next man Mitchell Johnson.

That he has done this without taking one five-wicket haul in an innings, or more than six in a match, shows his consistency. England needed him to lead their attack and he has with minimum fuss and maximum effort.

This evening he was irresistible, shielding the ball from the batsmen as he ran in to befuddle them with top quality reverse-swing bowling. Khawaja promised much again with some flowing drives and pulls before jabbing loosely behind. Michael Clarke’s frustration was obvious when Anderson produced arguably the ball of the match that swung late to square him up and take the edge.

In a match where Australia struggled to move the ball as England’s last five batsmen added 416 it was an extraordinary display and he was ably backed up by Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett.

Tremlett almost ended this game tonight, enforcing the extra half hour in a fearsome over in which he bounced out Brad Haddin and cleaned up Mitchell Johnson in consecutive balls. What the Australians would give for such depth and snarl in their bowling attack. As it was, England couldn’t quite finish things off, so the Barmy Army must return tomorrow morning for another half-day victory parade.

Tea: fifth Test, day four, Sydney
Match score: Australia 77-2 (Clarke 19*, Khawaja 4*) and 280 (Johnson 53) trail England 644 by 287 runs with eight second innings wickets remaining
Session score: England 8-1, Australia 77-2 England win
Session in six words: Watson running causes problems for Australia

If one wicket can sum up a summer, then Shane Watson’s run out was Australia’s 2010-11 Ashes. It was lazy and futile and, appropriately, by the whole length of the pitch. It was the seventh run out in which Watson has been involved in 47 innings – and only the second where he has walked the plank.

For all his public wibbling, Watson’s team-mates are firmly aware of his selfish streak and he appeared to attempt to stuff Philip Hughes in this one too, seeing his opening partner had stopped yet continuing down to his end anyway in hope of a panic move. Whether Hughes had shouted “no” clearly enough is another story.

It was doubly stupid because, just as at Melbourne, it undermined a solid start to the Australian innings, as Watson and Clarke had looked relatively untroubled on their way to 46. Hughes had been in his shell all innings, but seemed affected thereafter and poked a catch to Prior from an excellent Bresnan delivery that reversed across him to take the edge. England bowled well again to Hughes, drying up his scoring areas to the extent that the “Australian Sehwag” managed 13 off 58 balls.

Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja represent the future for Australia, though they face a tough job to prosper in the present. Batting 364 behind to avoid a third innings defeat in five matches is a desperate position. This match could yet be over tonight.

Lunch: fifth Test, day four, Sydney
Match score: England 636-9 (Swann 33*, Tremlett 7*) lead Australia 280 (Johnson 53) by 356 runs with one first innings wicket remaining
Session score: England 148-2 England win
Session in six words: Prior gets in on the act

For five years Paul Collingwood has been the guardian of a fragile, underachieving England middle-order. So it seems appropriate that he announced his retirement on the day that England passed 600 for the second time in and Ashes series for only the second time in their history – the last being 1938. This England side should not need him any more – Alastair Cook and Ian Bell are all grown up and Matt Prior now has four Test centuries from No.7.

Collingwood will be missed but England will hope more for his personality and all round contribution than his runs, which had dried up recently. Collingwood is the perfect role model for kids – he had talents that went beyond technique and stands as proof that if you have guts and determination to succeed then it can take you as far as three Ashes victories and an MBE.

Most will remember the spectacular catches but it is what we can’t see that matters most – there will be a huge hole in that dressing room for Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, James Hildreth and James Taylor to squabble over.

If Australia were already out of this game, this morning Prior, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann stole all their clothes and put the video on YouTube. No matter how hard Peter Siddle ran in, how many times Mitchell Johnson changed between over and around the wicket it didn’t make the slightest difference. England smashed them. Prior’s hundred was a showcase of his skills square of the wicket mixed with some lovely cover-driving.

When he had gone Swann and Chris Tremlett took Mitchell Johnson for 20 in one over to the delight of the Barmy Army and by the end of the session they had tied England’s highest ever score on Australian soil of 636 that has stood since 1928-29.

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