Friday, 7 August 2009

Fourth Ashes Test, Headingley, Day One

Sports - Cricket - Ashes

My picks of the first day:

Australia could not have dreamt up a better start on the first day of the fourth Ashes test at Headingley. After losing the toss and being put out to field, the Aussies ripped England into bits getting them six wickets down by lunch and eventually all out for only 102, Peter Siddle crowning the bowling lineup with five wickets for just 21 runs. England recovered somewhat by getting four wickets by the end of the day, but will need a nigh-on miraculous session on day two, to stay in the match.

Run of Play: Advantage to...

1st session, England 76 for 6 at lunch: Australia for shattering chaotic England to bits, they could not have dreamt of a better start after losing the toss.

2nd session, England 102 all out, Australia 69 for 1 (33 behind) at tea: Australia for ending England's misery quickly and smashing any hopes away of similar bowling success for the home side.

3rd session, Australia 196 for 4 (94 lead) at the end of day one: England will be a little bit happier after taking much-needed and crucial wickets, overall-advantage still goes to Australia though.

Partnership: 119 runs between Shane Watson (51) and Ricky Ponting (78): They played with England, boundary, after boundary, after boundary, whilst the home side looked like amateurs, not knowing where to put or do what, bat and ball. No question, England were outplayed and can be happy the Aussie captain had an absent moment and gave away an lbw after narrowly getting away from a run out the previous ball. Andrew Strauss showed his frustration and aggrevation, stomping across the field, telling off his bowlers and pointing them out the obvious, they have been disastrous, positioning his fielders like a net around them to avoid a total thrash-bash.

Bowling: Every bowler starred for Australia, chipping in with wickets: Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson with one each and Stuart Clark with three before lunch before Siddle swept the England tailend off the field with four more, to complete the high-five for the fast-medium bowler. All ten wickets were caught, reflecting England' insecurity and shambles with the bat, going for every ball, falling for every trap and Australia's dominance with the ball, getting most out of the swing and bounce and placing the balls spot-on.

The opposite applied for the England bowlers. They seemed to have learnt nothing from their downfall, bowling too short and giving the Aussie batsmen plenty of food to chew on and enjoy and get boundary after boundary after boundary. Steve Harmison and James Anderson were the most expensive and ineffective bowlers at a run rate of around 4.5, the prior disappointing most after a promising start when he started aggressively and got Simon Katich caught out on his third ball making it 14 for 1.

Stuart Broad formed the biggest and nearly only threat after that, getting the ball spot-on, snatching a couple of lbws which finally saw captain Ricky Ponting out for 78, 140 for 3, and Mike Hussey for a spicy 10, leaving Australia at 151 for 4. That was after Graham Onions had got the breakthrough and Watson out lbw after he had reached his half-century, the second wicket for 133, which broke the flourishing partnership and left England hoping that will be the last one for Australia.

Ups: That the horror-day has finally found an end for England at stumps. All joy for Australia, even if England got a couple of wickets in the end, thehome side were made to look like total amateurs, not having a clue where is what and how. Thank god, the day has ended!

Downs: Everything, England's batting - if you can call it that, England's bowling and even England's fielding at times, leaking runs and letting Australia off because they feared to be thrashed. This has been the worst day for England these Ashes so far, like the second day of the last test was for Australia.

Hero to zero: After all the hype and calls for Harmison's recall, he utterly disappointed, groping for consistency, to no avail, bowling some horrific deliveries and expensive overs. Apart from his early wicket, I could not stop shaking my head, although he was not the only disappointment of England's bowling lineup.

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