Perseverance pays for Hoggard

Hoggard's old-ball bowling performance gave England the edge but but he omission of Panesar could haunt them (05:14)

December 3, 2006

Transcript

Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day

Perseverance pays for Hoggard

December 3, 2006

Ricky Ponting really had to struggle for his runs at the Adelaide Oval today but he showed what a truly tremendous player he was by grafting - even though he wasn't dominant he still went on to get a hundred. He got one lucky break when Ashley Giles probably got off to a late start [in his attempt to make the catch]. Nothing can be more annoying for the bowler and captain when they set a plan and Giles was put back there specifically for the lofted pull shot. Ponting obliged but as I said, Giles got a late start and it when down. It looked like it was going to be terminal for England.

The first session, I thought, was a tremendous session of Test match cricket - exactly what you would expect. Good players having to fight hard for their runs against good bowling. But after lunch, Hussey and Ponting, who I think love batting together, got into a rhythm, the partnership started to build. It looked like Giles's drop was going to be absolutely terminal.

Ponting battled his way to his 33rd century; the most by any Australian. He was finally out to the second new ball. Hoggard did a tremendous job for England, he really carried their bowling. There is big difference in Hoggard on this tour from when he last toured Australia. I thought he was a good bowler with the new ball when it was swinging on the previous tour but once the shine went off the ball and he couldn't get it to swing he was cannon fodder. But he's gone away and worked on a method on how he can still bowl well when the ball isn't swinging and he put that plan in operation perfectly today.

The delivery with which he got rid of Damien Martyn was a beauty. People talk about a batsman playing at a wide delivery and why he doesn't let it go but that's the art of good swing bowling if you can make it swing late. Martyn had committed himself to the shot and Ian Bell took a very good catch - a good example of great swing bowling. He then got Ponting with the second new ball and then the icing on the cake-he got rid of Hussey before he reached a century, Once again it was the perseverance of Hoggard that did the trick. He kept bowling a good line and a good length, just a little bit of movement here and there. Hussey nearing a hundred at the end of a long day was a little bit uncertain and couldn't get the bat out of the way and Hoggard had another wicket. The Englishmen crowded around Hoggard and gave him the congratulations he really deserved.

Australia have struggled to this point and even if England do push through and get Australia out even before they reach the follow-on mark, I don't think they'll enforce the follow-on. They'll want to bat third and bowl fourth. I am sure that was what they thought when they won the toss. But Hoggard has given England a chance of winning this Test match. Once this Test match started I said that I didn't think England were capable of getting 20 wickets and winning, but if Hoggard can get some assistance from the other bowlers then England can go on and win this.

I thought, even before this series, that Panesar had to play ahead of Giles. For the first half a dozen overs in Brisbane I thought Giles was a different sort of a bowler - I thought he looked a better bowler - but now I see a bowler that the Australians don't fear. Ponting, when he leaves the crease, always looks like he will reach the pitch of the ball and won't be fooled through the air. I think England have made a huge mistake in not playing Panesar here and will continue to make that mistake if they don't play him.

Hoggard has been the man of the day for England, he's given them a chance of winning this Test. It'll be a battle; he'll be a very tired man at the end of this match. But for a batsman there is no better way to get tired than to win a Test match, for a bowler, there's no better way to get tired than get five wickets and help your side win the Test match. This has been a very good, hard, fighting Test match, exactly what you would expect from two international sides, where the bowlers make runs hard to come by but the good batsmen find ways to get the runs. It's been a good one so far; whether we get a result or not will be touch and go, but I think it'll be a very close finish.


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