Friday, 31 July 2009

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston, Day Two

Sports – Cricket – Ashes

My picks of the second day:

James Anderson and Graham Onions put England in a strong position with brilliant displays and nine wickets between them on day two of the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston. Australia's shocking collapse to 203 for 8 before lunch did not come without controversial decisions by umpire Rudi Koertzen. They were eventually all out for 263, Anderson completing his 5-wicket haul and Onions finishing the Aussies off with his fourth. When bad light stopped play at the end of the day, England's captain Andrew Strauss had led England to 116 for 2, leaving them 147 runs behind.

Run of Play: Advantage to...

1st session, Australia 203 for 8 at lunch: England capitalised and put Australia onto their knees, both Onions and Anderson with hat-trick chances, unfolding a brilliant nail-biter.

2nd session, Australia 263 all out, England 56 for 1 (207 behind) at tea: England getting Australia all out and a start, the captain looking strong and confident, unsurprisingly after the day his side had enjoyed so far.

3rd session, England 116 for 2 (147 behind) at the end of day two: England ending a mouthwatering day with 8 wickets in tact and a very promising chance of getting something out of the match.


- 37 runs between Ricky Ponting (20) and Michael Clarke (17): Australia's highest partnership reflects the run of play and their display: Their captain saw two wickets go within a couple of blinks of the eye, of the first two balls of the day, Shane Watson out for 62 after a perfect lbw by Graham Onions, Mike Hussey bowled the very next ball for a golden duck and Michael Clarke surviving Onions' hat-trick ball. Clarke stuck with his skipper, Ponting becoming the third all-time test batting run scorer behind India's Sachin Tendulkar and West Indies' Brian Lara and Australian record leading run scorer in test matches. But the glory did not last long, the skipper falling a couple of deliveries later caught behind, the third wicket for Onions.

- 58 runs between Andrew Strauss (35) and Ravi Bopara (23): Bopara made a good start as always with some beautiful shots after Alastair Cook got caught behind for a duck. But he gave his wicket away, after dragging the ball of Ben Hilfenhaus onto his stumps with a nothing-shot, inside-edge, without establishing a credible total and partnership with his skipper, very frustrating.

- 81 runs between Andrew Strauss (34) and Ian Bell (47): Strauss continued strongly and confident whilst Bell proved his worth replacing Kevin Pietersen, although he got away on a couple of occasions, the umpire not giving a dead-on lbw by Johnson at 106 for 2. Both shared terrific shots and boundaries between them, bringing England to 116 for 2 at the end of the day, 117 behind Australia, who were all out for 263, Graeme Swann catching the last wicket Hilfenhaus at gully, Onions fourth, after Anderson completed his five wicket haul after Peter Siddle's outside-edge was caught behind by Prior.

Bowlers: James Anderson with his five wicket haul and Graham Onions with four wickets formed the perfect, mind-blowing bowling attack for England, leading England to a perfect, strong and confident position. The first session must have been the best England have ever created and seen against the Aussies, with seven wickets between the two bowlers. Unforgettable, but not without controversy: After their skipper departed, Australia lost four more wickets before lunch: Clarke was given out controversially lbw to an inswinger by Anderson, which was probably missing offstump. Marcus North was caught brilliantly with an athletic jump by wicket keeper Matt Prior followed by Mitchell Johnson the next ball after he left another inswinger by Anderson and got caught out lbw, but the ball bouncing and flying slightly too high according to Hawkeye, leaving Anderson on a hat-trick. He was not on target to get the third one in a row, but got another one before lunch, this time changing angle and bowling out Graham Manou with a pearler without a question, leaving Australia reeling and angry 203 for 8 at lunch.

Ups: Morning session, the best, most shocking session I have ever seen! Unforgettable, dream come true for England, nightmare gone from bad to worse to indefeasible for Australia.

Downs: Typically, the last two Australia wickets were buggers, producing 60 runs, which is nearly as good as the previous five wickets produced between them. But England got them out eventually, too, that is the main thing.

Hero to zero: Freddie, who? Yesterday I was worrying about Andrew Flintoff's form and display on this pitch, but today, forgot all about him. With Anderson and Onions on a wicket spree, Flintoff was able to take a breather and out of most of the minds, for the time being.

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