The Gabba, Day 2

26 11 2010

Score: England 260 Australia 220-5

Before the series started almost everyone, bar, perhaps, a few Aussies living in the past and predicting a whitewash, expected this series to be tight and particularly difficult to predict. After the first day during which a Peter Siddle inspired Aussie side blew England away for a below par 260, the old sense that perhaps things hadn’t actually changed down under had reasserted itself in some quarters.

That feeling grew for the first hour or so of the morning session as Watson and Katich accumulated in a relatively untroubled fashion. A couple or referrals later, both going the way of the Aussies and England were visibly getting frustrated. Anderson who was by now in the middle of an excellent spell and was regularly troubling both openers finally made the breakthrough, having Watson caught behind. For the next couple of hours it was all England.

Cricket, like any other sport, is a game where that unquantifiable but potent force called ‘momentum’ has a large say in proceedings. Suddenly England were bowling brilliantly – not giving the batsman chances to score whilst also regularly beating the bat. As is often the way when the force is with you England then enjoyed some luck with Ponting being caught behind down the leg side. Never a good way to go for any batsman being as it is a particularly unlucky and unlikely way to be dismissed but, as they say, its just cricket.

Since then some really quite exceptional batting from Hussey with dogged support from Haddin has got the Aussies back into the driving seat but the feeling remains that this test could still go either way. Here are our thoughts for the day in no particular order:

Hussey: A simply brilliant display from the under pressure veteran. He was clearly seeing the ball so early that he was managing to pull balls that weren’t even particularly short. Timed the ball so immaculately that the vast majority of his runs have come in boundaries and in some ways England won’t be displeased to have left the field knowing they have a new ball and he has to start again in the morning. This could be the decisive innings of the test and if he manages another 50-70 runs it could be enough to win the game for Australia.

Swann: His battle with Hussey was good to watch although it has to be said that the Australian got the better of him. Did well however to pull things back with his last 16 overs going for only 25 runs. Got North in classic off spinners dismissal of a left hander.

Anderson: It looks like the Lancastrian has truly finally grown up and learnt how to bowl when the balls not doing much. It is true his record has improved dramatically over the past couple of years but doubts remained in Australia. Today’s performance has gone a long way to answering his critics although another two or three wickets in quick time wouldn’t hurt tomorrow morning. Bowled more balls that went past the outside edge than almost anyone we have ever seen.

Clarke: Not a pretty display and was responsible for playing and missing at Anderson at least seven or eight times. Scratched around and was given a working over by Broad with some short pitched bowling. Forget Ponting being vulnerable to the short ball – it looks like this could be a profitable tactic against the vice captain as well.

Finn: Reasonable with some excellent balls and overs mixed in with the odd pressure relieving short and wide four ball. Two important wickets though and plenty more to come from the giant Middlesex man. Good pace and excellent athleticism.

North: It would be a joy to all English fans if Hilditch and company keep selecting Mr. North. Providing you don’t let him get past twenty odd – he’s not dangerous.

What About Tomorrow?

England need quick wickets but are far from out of this. Australia have half a head’s lead and all depends on Hussey, Haddin and Johnson. Get two of these three out quickly and it could be even once more.

Australia will be very happy with a lead of 100 plus you would think, as, despite what the commentators are saying about the decent nature of the pitch – the fragility of the respective batting line ups mean that 100 runs would have a huge amount of value in what is promising to be a tight game.

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2 responses

26 11 2010
BP

Another quality day of cricket!

For the 1st time in probably 3 years, Hussey looked really high class in a Test innings…brilliant to watch, and as you said, could be the decisive innings of the match if he scores another 50-60 runs and takes Australia to a lead of ~100.

For England, Anderson was exceptional…probably the best I’ve seen him bowl outside of England too. (Just another thing about Anderson though…I wonder if it’s smart to have him field at cover / short cover for Swann?…I mean why risk a finger injury to your bowling spearhead by putting him in the line of fire of a powerful cover drive??? Plus, by putting him in the thick of the action, you’re not allowing him to have a breather and think about his own bowling plans.)

CRUCIAL morning session tomorrow…team winning it may well go on to win the match. But I have to say…England are competing far more strongly at the Gabba than I had imagined…the slower-than-usual nature of the Day 1 track may have helped, but still…kudos! And given the turn being afforded so early (as noted by Chappelli and Healy), I think Swann may well have the opportunity to be the hero on day 4 or 5.

26 11 2010
Jonathan

How in the world are my predictions supposed to come through when you only give Colly four overs?? I give up!

Solid day from England. Hussey played well, but felt he go too many bad balls that relieved pressure. Interesting little battle with Swann.

Crucial session tomorrow with the new ball.

Outstanding catch from Finn for him to react and get down so fast for tall man.

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