Buchanan finds praise for bowlers
It was actually a pretty decent day for Australia. According to the coach John Buchanan the bowlers did well as a group, especially Brett Lee and Shane Warne, and Australia will just have to score 700 and dismiss England for 150 on the last day to win.
England were actually the ones who made the major mistake by batting Kevin Pietersen at five instead of higher up the list. "Rather than have other players blunt the new ball for him, I can't understand why he's not up the order," Buchanan said. Pietersen got 158 and Paul Collingwood, who holds the No. 4 spot, claimed a maiden double-century.
Taking a look at the old-fashioned Adelaide Oval scoreboard, Australia are definitely suffering after England declared at 6 for 551 before Andrew Flintoff removed Justin Langer to maintain the impressive drive. Glenn McGrath and Warne both earned records they would be wishing to forget, McGrath giving up more runs without a wicket than in any time in his career and Warne collecting his most expensive figures against England.
Despite the one-sided nature of the opening two days Buchanan was upbeat. "When I look at all the bowlers I'm very happy with what they did," he said, "the strategies that they chose, the execution of them."
McGrath spent time off the field fixing his boot in the opening session to ease a heel problem. Although he has not been complaining about the injury, his effectiveness was limited and his speed has dropped significantly on the flat surface. "He pounded down 20-plus overs," Buchanan said, "so, so far so good." He returned 0 for 103.
Warne gave up 167 runs for the wicket of Geraint Jones while Brett Lee also won praise from Buchanan for his 1 for 139. "I think Brett's bowled exceptionally well," he said. "He's held his pace and bowled good lines. It's encouraging for the second innings and the rest of the series.
"The measure of Shane's bowling is how many bad balls there were. He bowled a couple late yesterday when he got tired and maybe a few today. His control has been excellent, he hasn't got the rub of the green, a bit like Brett."
Stuart Clark was the only bowler not to win compliments from Buchanan and he was the man who performed the best. Throughout the first two days he troubled England with short and full deliveries and added three victims to continue his strong series.
When Australia resume at 1 for 28 on day three they will have heard Buchanan's plan for success. "Hopefully we get a foundation partnership going, minimise risks and therefore your error rate is small," he said. Buchanan was realistic enough to note it will not be his team dictating the terms.
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo