England dominating down under

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The second test began with what was dubbed to be a crucial toss. Australia won the toss and elected to bat, the correct decision on paper, with pundits and opposing Captain Andrew Strauss admitting that they would have wanted to bat first.

However, England were buoyed by the brave battling performance in the first test, and stuck with the same eleven that had already caused Australia havoc. Australia needed to make changes, and replaced the somewhat inept Mitchell Johnson and the uncharacteristically ineffective Ben Hilfenhaus with local boy Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger.

England made an emphatic start to the test, with two wickets in the opening over, Trott running out Simon Katich after a mix up between him and Shane Watson with a rejected LBW appeal. A ball later, Captain Ponting out for a golden duck, edging to Graeme Swann in the slips off the bowling of Jimmy Anderson. Michael Clarke continued this early morning capitulation for Australia, Swann catching him out off the bowling of Anderson, seeing the score more resembling that of a football match at 2-3.

Watson (51) and Hussey (93) steadied the ship a little bit for Australia with them making it to 207-5. However, Hussey’s wicket commenced the domino effect as they lost their last five wickets for just 38 runs. England ripped through the Australian tail skittling them out for just 245 runs in total.

England’s innings began badly as Strauss lost his wicket cheaply, leaving the ball to go onto the stumps, bowled for just one by Bollinger. With the in-form Cook and the fantastic battling spirit of Jonathan Trott at the crease, there was no real qualms.

Despite the early lost wicket, England made it to 176-2 before Trott was caught off the bowling of Adelaide boy Harris. The partnership between Pietersen and Cook was just as impressive, rarely giving Australia even a glimmer of a wicket, making it to 351-3, before Cook edged to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin off the bowling of Harris again.

England were outstanding and in all honesty, were making Australia look like a poor team. England batted for a full two days, creating a massive advantage over Australia. Australia’s only hope was coming from the weather forecasts of large storms on the way, providing their only realistic hope of salvaging anything from the second test.

Even with this weather concern, England did not make an overnight declaration between the third and fourth days. Instead, the team opted to have an hour of one day international style cricket, boosting the lead and further demoralising the Australian team.  Man of the match Kevin Pietersen, was getting out for a truly amazing score of 227, attempting to slog Xavier Doherty and caught by Katich, adding to his long list of left-arm spin bowlers that he has already fallen to. England eventually declared on 620-5, with Matt Prior and Ian Bell not out giving England a lead of 375 runs.

Australia started strongly in their second innings making it to 84 before the loss of their first wicket, Katich. However Ponting followed soon after, making just nine runs before being caught off the bowling of the marvellous Graeme Swann. Possibly the most important moment of the test match came at the end of day four, with Australia cruising along nicely at 238-3, Kevin Pietersen was to bowl. Then came a moment dreams are made of for Kevin Pietersen, as he bowled out Clarke for 80, taking his third test wicket of his career, taking his career figures to 3-597.

This was a massive sucker-punch by England as Clarke was set and looked destined to go on and make a century. And at 238-4 the scoreboard made fantastic reading for England, with just six more wickets needed to take the lead in an away Ashes series for the first time in 25 years.

The first session of the fifth day saw an unbelievable effort by England’s bowlers and fielders alike, rarely giving the Australian batsman a look in at runs. Hussey went for 52 with the score at 261-5, and as usual the loss of Hussey, to Finn’s bowling, marked the start of Australia’s demise. As Haddin went for just 12 with Australia on 286 the test match was all but over with just the four tail-enders left to bat.

Swann ripped through the tail like a man on a mission, teasing the batsman out of position with an unbelievable amount of spin. He repeatedly bowled the ball into the corridor of uncertainty, causing Doherty and Siddle all kinds of problems before ruthlessly removing them.

The ball by Swann to end the test match was the perfect ball, pitching well outside the line but spinning in massively and through the gap between bat and pad, before crashing into the top of middle and off stump. This gave Swann a much deserved five-wicket haul and a place on the honours board at the Adelaide Oval.

England can be extremely grateful to the fantastic effort of the England Bowler’s and the way in which they  ruthlessly despatched of the Australian batsman, as a storm hit Adelaide, and there would have been no play after lunch, as by 3.30pm local time the stadium more resembled a swimming pool than it did a cricket pitch.

England were superb throughout the whole of the second test, whereas Australia up until now have not looked like being capable of picking up the necessary 20 wickets to win a match. However, as it is Australia, you can expect them to come back fighting as they try to win the series, but in my opinion England have too much for Australia this time and could go on to inflict a 2 or 3-0 victory in the series, and thus condemning Ponting as the worst Captain Australia has ever had, as the first ever to lose three Ashes series against England.

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