Wednesday, 29 December 2010

England thrash Australia to retain the Ashes

Sports - Cricket - Ashes - 4th Test - Melbourne - Day 4

My picks of the fourth day:

England have retained the Ashes for the first time in 24 years by thrashing Australia by an innings and 157 runs. It is their biggest win against their bitter rivals since 1956 and made Ricky Ponting the first Australian skipper in 120 years to lose the Ashes three times. Whilst he is out of the last Test and doubtful for keeping the captaincy in general, England captain Andrew Strauss is a proud man and hopeful his side can win the series emphatically by avoiding defeat in the fifth and final Test in Sydney starting on Sunday.

Run of Play: Advantage to...

Australia 258 all out, England beat Australia by an innings and 157 runs: It was only a question of when not if the Aussies would fall and England could celebrate...

Partnerships: Australia resumed batting on day four on 169-6, England needing only three wickets to tie up and finish the match and series successfully with Ryan Harris unable to bat due to injury. Mitchell Johnson (6) fell quickly bowled and beaten by Chris Tremlett's reverse swing (Australia 172-7). But Brad Haddin (55*) and Peter Siddle (40) created a bit of a fight back with a partnership of 86, postponing the inevitable by an hour-and-a-bit. But when Siddle fell, Ben Hilfenhaus (0) followed soon after and after finally getting Australia all out for 258, England were able to let the fun and celebrations begin.

Bowling: Tremlett, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan took a wicket each on the day making it five and six wickets in the match for the two fast bowlers respectively. Although the bowlers did a great job in the whole match, each chipping in with wickets, James Anderson also with five and Swann finding a bit of his form back with two, batsman Jonathan Trott won the man-of-the-match award and deservedly so for his unbeaten 168 score he contributed to England's staggeringly score of 513 and unreachable lead of 415.

Ups: For the first time I can remember (I was only 1 the last time this happened) England have retained the Ashes and won it Down Under! I am definitely going to buy this DVD-set, that is for sure!!!

Downs: The attendance has fallen just as drastically as and with the Aussies from 84,345 on day one, it went down to 67,149/68,773 the next couple of days and then plummeted to 19,889 on day four. And as far as I could tell, 99% of them were all part of the Barmy Army, chanting and celebrating on!

Hero to zero: It has been confirmed this morning that Aussies skipper Ricky Ponting has been ruled out of the Sydney Test due to aggravation of the fracture to the little finger of his left hand. Michael Clarke will replace him as skipper and Usman Khawaja will make his Test debut with the bat. After scoring only 113 runs in eight innings and averaging only 16.14 this series, I am not too sure whether it Ponting's injury is the only reason which excludes him from Australia's team sheet and would not be surprised if that is the last we have seen of him, as the Aussie skipper at least...

Australia v England fourth Test fourth day as it happened:

Highlights taken from the BBC website:

- WICKET, Johnson bowled Tremlett 6 (Australia 172-7): Brad Haddin is a sinewy character, with uncomplicated with a see-it-and-hit-it philosophy to batting, punching a lovely meaty straight drive past bowler Chris Tremlett towards the mid-on boundary, but Alastair Cook makes an excellent parry to cut the runs down to a single. But Mitchell Johnson's stay ends when he is cleaned up by a Chris Tremlett delivery. It's started...

- Australia 210-7: Siddle gets in on the boundary-scoring antics with an aerial thump over mid-off before adopting similar tactics with a chop over gully down to deep point off Tremlett, who wears the expression of a man who can't quite work out whether he locked the back door before flying out to Australia. Meanwhile, Sid El moves to 14 from 25 deliveries. Decent fight from this eight-wicket duo. Well played.

- DRINKS BREAK, Australia 237-7: Wonderful drift from Swann, moving away from Haddin's bat before turning sharply off the wicket, mesmeric bowling, a real pleasure to watch. Just a single to Haddin from the over and he moves on to 48. A beverage break.

- WICKET, Siddle c Pietersen b Swann 40 (Australia 258-8): Siddle goes for the big guns again and launches another huge swat high into the air, but he doesn't get enough willow to clear the ropes as Kevin Pietersen takes a smart catch just centimetres from the boundary ropes. Get your drink of choice on the go, we're almost there...

- WICKET, Hilfenhaus c Prior b Bresnan 0 (Australia 258-9): That's it - start the car! ENGLAND HAVE RETAINED THE ASHES! Hilfenhaus edges a simple catch to Matt Prior for Tim Bresnan's fourth wicket of the innings. The celebrations have begun - let the fun begin... ENGLAND BEAT AUSTRALIA BY AN INNINGS AND 157 RUNS.

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