Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Cook and Bell run riot to make Aussies suffer

Sports - Cricket - Ashes - 5th Test - Sydney - Day 3

My picks of the third day:

Centurions Alastair Cook (189) and Ian Bell (115) shared a fine partnership of 154 to give England a lead of 208 at the end of day three at Sydney. England had started the day on 167-3, nightwatchman James Anderson (7) and Paul Collingwood (13) falling relatively early when Cook and Bell took over, taking England from 226-5 to 488-7, Matt Prior sticking by and still standing on 54 at stumps.

Run of Play: Advantage to...

1st session, England 277-5, 3 runs behind at lunch: England lose two wickets but Cook and Bell keep their heads screwed on right and even the keel, closing in on erasing the arrears.

2nd session, England 378-5, 98 ahead at tea: England are cruising with Cook breaking all the records and Bell joining in on frustrating the Aussie bowlers.

3rd session, England 488-7, 208 ahead at the end of day three: Cook and Bell had to fall eventually, but not before they established themselves and England with fine centuries and a strong lead.

Partnerships: Cook broke all sorts of records with his 189-run-stint this innings alone contributing to his overall total of 766 series runs and bringing over 2,200 minutes he batted this series to a successful end, overtaking the likes of John Edrich, Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch and Denis Compton and leaving only Wally Hammond - who hit 905 in the 1928/29 Ashes - to conquer. Cook finally edged a tired drive to Mike Hussey at gully off Shane Watson after tea, ending the parternship at 154 and leaving Bell to go on to his first Ashes ton (115). But after two lucky escapes - one Snicko-nick-catch overturned on 67 and one return-catch dropped by Steven Smith on 84 - Bell also fell in the penultimate over of the day, edging an easy catch to Michael Clarke at slip off Mitchell Johnson. Prior was joined by Tim Bresnan and ended the day unbeaten on his second Ashes fifty (54*).

Bowlers: It hasn't been debutant Michael Beer's day and match that is for sure. You had to feel sorry for him after another review didn't go his way - Cook's flip went straight to Phillip Hughes at short-leg, but the replays showed the ball dropped just short and bounced into his hands. The same goes for all the bowlers really, Australia drawing a very sorry and frustrated picture as decisions and reviews didn't go their way throughout the day, with the batsmen staying on top. Peter Siddle and Beer got the early wickets, Watson and Johnson the late breakthroughs, but it was too little and too late in the end for Australia. They barely celebrated the latter wickets as they know the state of affairs, needing a win here to avoid losing the series but trailing by 208 runs.

Ups: More and more twists and turns with more salt on the Aussies' wounds added by the review system - it is all looking to go England's way at the moment, the Ashes, the decisions, the match, the series.

Downs: Is it worth trying to get a wicket fiddled when you know you will be found out? When Hughes went up cheering, you could see the question marks all over him and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin saw exactly what happened. The cameras and third umpired picked up on everything and got it right then anyways. Okay, Bell got a lucky escape when he sent the nick-catch to review and got it overturned although there was an obvious sound, but hey, it wasn't as much an obvious, blatant lie as some other... You are being watched, so don't try to fool yourself!

Hero to zero: Well, I don't think he ever was a hero really, but Collingwood, who was out for 13, has certainly seen better times. The 34-year-old has an average of only 15.54 runs in his last 10 Test matches and I'm not too sure he will get another chance to make up for it... Shame... But the main thing is we beat the Aussies , I'm sure he agrees!

Australia v England fifth Test third day as it happened:

Highlights taken from the BBC website:

1st session:

- Both England and Australia's players took to the field today with pink caps which were handed to Glenn McGrath at the bottom of the stairs to be auctioned off later. Pink everywhwere in fact at the SCG, it's a cricket ground as designed by Jordan. Hilfenhaus with the first over of the day...

- England 168-3: Nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson is on strike and he plays the first few balls well, standing on tip-toes to get above a short one before dropping his hands on another. Bit of in-swing to the left-handed Anderson and there's a strangled lbw appeal - still no reviews though, that was hooping down leg.

- WICKET, Anderson b Siddle 7 (England 181-4): Jimmy's gone - Siddle's first wicket of the match, pitching on middle, darting right and taking out off-stump, far too good for Anderson.

- England 197-4: Hilfenhaus gets another one to hoop back into Cook and the batsman is sawn in two. The Aussie seamers still not mixing up the angles against Cook, despite his 650 runs, surely they should be thinking about attacking Cook from around the wicket? A statue of Steve Waugh unveiled today at the SCG, which would be tremendous, if it didn't look a bit like Stan Laurel. Must arouse very mixed feelings, having a statue unveiled of you that doesn't look anything like you...

- England 212-4: Cook has now overtaken Hobbs and Boycott as high England scorers in Ashes series - ahead of him now are Gooch (673), Gower (732), Sutcliffe (734) and Hammond (905). Now, that's what you call illustrious. He moves to 90 with a cut for three, homing in on his third ton of the series. Short from Watson and Colly looks to fetch him from outside off, but doesn't quite time it.

- UMPIRE REVIEW: Left-arm spinner Beer drops short and is cut away for a couple... two more for Cook with a work to mid-wicket, he's now 99... GONE NEXT BALL! Cook flipping straight to the man at short-leg! No, it's going upstairs... NOT OUT! And rightly so, that bounced into Phil Hughes's hands at short-leg. Naughty, very naughty, and replays show wicketkeeper Haddin knew that wasn't out in the first place... England 221-4: You have to feel sorry for Beer, but both not out decisions have been correct. The Aussie fans may well boo, but it's Hughes who was the villain in that piece. Watson straight and full to Collingwood and the Durham man is looking like an lbw candidate at the moment, maiden over.

- WICKET, Collingwood c Hilfenhaus b Beer 13 (England 226-5): Six dots from Watson... here's Beer, who could have two Test wickets but has none instead... STRIKE THAT! Rancid shot by Collingwood, advancing down the track, looking to heave over the top and holing out to the man at mid-on.

- England 234-5: Cook has now batted for 2,000 minutes in this series, which is just six minutes short of the England record held by John Edrich, set in the 1970-71 series. Bit of turn for Beer, which will encourage Swanny up in the England dressing room, Cook shovels through mid-wicket for one, Bell adds a single. Seven overs until the new ball.

- England 259-5: Maiden over from Beer, Bell not taking any liberties with the inexperienced tweaker. As it stands, Cook has the highest average of any batsman in an Ashes series (many thanks, Niblett79 on Twitter) - 139.40, next to Bradman's 139.14 from the 1930 series. Simon Hughes doing his nut on TMS about the Aussie seamers' lack of imagination and inability to think for themselves - they're still not coming around the wicket to Cook, not sure why. Bell offered width by Siddle and Bell carves him away for four. New ball due...

- INTERVAL, LUNCH - England 277-5: Hilfenhaus was poor with the new ball, but he's been replaced by a man who could be even poorer - Johnson's first delivery is a wide, miles outside Bell's off-stump. Bell tucks off his hip to bring up the fifty partnership before Cook drops into the off-side and scampers one - could have been a run-out, but Johnson's throw on the turn just missed. Pretty insipid stuff from Mitchell, and that's luncheon.

2nd session:

- England 283-5: It's Hilfenhaus to continue, and he's really found things tough going this series - five wickets from four Tests at an average of 73.6, and Bell raises that a smidgeon with a peachy clip through mid-wicket for four.

- England 303-5: Poor from Johnson - short, wide and Cook piles into that, thrashing the ball through backward-point for four to bring up the England 300. The partnership now 77 from 135 balls and Cook and Bell are looking serene. Watson with another tight over, but Australia need more than tight, they need nice and tight with a slash down the side...

- DRINKS BREAK, England 329-5: That's like honey dripping off the back of a spoon from Bell, a sweet back-cut for a couple. Cook has now passed Sutcliffe's 734 runs, he's now fifth on England's overall list for series against any country. Drinks, and there's no dignity in that drinks cart...

- England 358-5: Cook, still concentrating like a hawk, has now racked up the second biggest aggregate by any Englishman in any Test series. Only Wally Hammond (905) to beat. Among those he has surpassed are Gooch in 1990, remember that. He got about 500 in one Test.

- INTERVAL, TEA - England 378-5: Two singles from Hilfenhaus's final over before tea, and England-wise, sessions don't come more satisfactory than that - Cook 188, Bell 62, the Aussies are taking a shellacking...

3rd session:

- WICKET, Cook c Hussey b Watson 189 (England 380-6): Cook's gone! He drives and squirts to Hussey in the gully, that was a neat catch diving low to his right... Cook's innings lasted 342 balls and included 16 fours - he has now batted for 36 hours and 11 minutes in this series. "Lovely," purrs Sir Boycs. Wicketkeeper Prior is next up the ramp and he sees out the rest of Watson's over.

- UMPIRE REVIEW: Prior off the mark with a clip off his pads for one. Bell's so comfortable out there he's now concentrating on aesthetics - he's just asked Umpire Bowden to trim some loose thread from his shirt... we've got a review, I think Bell's nicked one... NOT OUT! Hotspot's showing nothing, but the reaction of Bell is surely telling - he didn't review it immediately, conferring with Prior, which suggests to me he nicked it... but it's been overturned. The expression on Bell's face says it all, guilty little boy with his hand in the cookie jar... England 385-6: Bell wears one in the orchestras from Watson's final delivery, the Aussie fans enjoyed that. Guess what? Snicko says that was a nick from Bell, shame the boys upstairs aren't furnished with that information... Stump mic has also picked up that nick... I'll leave it now, but if I was an Aussie I'd be very annoyed, in fact I'd be livid.

- England 400-6: The inside of Michael Clarke's mind must look like something by Hieronymus Bosch, it's fast turning into a nightmare for him out there. Johnson back on and it's short and wide and Prior pulls him away to bring up the England 400. That's a snorter from Mitchell, pitching on leg and beating Bell's outside edge.

- DRINKS BREAK, England 433-6: Spitter from Johnson, that reared up off a length and took Bell on the gloves. The England seamers will be licking their lips at that, here's drinks...

- THAT'S 100, England 458-6: Prior eases down the ground for a single and Bell is on strike on 99. Bell surveys the scene before settling over his bat... Smith tosses one up and Bell drives, but for no run... Bell forces into the off-side and that's his maiden Ashes ton - he's not the Sherminator any more, Warnie, your boys just got owned...

- England 463-6: I am pleased to report that at least Haddin and Clarke clapped that Bell ton, not sure about anyone else, the camera didn't show them. A few boos from the Aussies in the crowd, but hey, no-one in this office is crying, we grew up on a diet of Aussie beatings. That ton from Bell took 209 balls and included 11 fours, it was his 31st innings against Australia. Three more for Bell with a chop down to third-man...

- MATT PRIOR 50 - England 484-6: Maiden over from Beer... sorry about that, was staring into space for that entire over... here's your man Mitchell Johnson, and let the Barmy Army barracking begin. Not sure it was wise of Mitchell to let his distaste for the Army be known, it's a bit like Jermain Defoe complaining before a North London derby about Arsenal fans having a tendency to be beastly. What a shot that is from Prior in the fading light, lofting Johnson over cover-point for four runs, and he squeezes through backward-point for his second fifty of the series, from only 54 balls - England lead by 204.

- WICKET, Bell c Clarke b Johnson 115 (England 487-7): Prior with that exaggerated glide of his down to third-man and he runs up one... Bell's gone! Fencing at a ball from Johnson and Clarke taking a low catch at first slip - he leaves the field to much applause from the Barmy Army and some boos from the Aussie contingent, about which he will not give a jot. By the way, that sixth-wicket partnership between Cook and Bell of 154 was a record for England at the SCG - better late than never... Timothy Bresnan is next up the ramp, can he tap some runs with the pressure off?

- BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY, England 488-7: Three men round the bat for Bresnan as Beer comes tip-toeing in like a butterfly with sore feet... Bresnan looks to mow him through the off-side but only succeeds in getting an inside-edge for nowt... they're going off for light, and don't be surprised if they don't come back tonight...

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