The difference was in the mind

England thought survival while Australia believed they could win and that made the difference (04:20)

December 5, 2006


Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day

The difference was in the mind

December 5, 2006

The Australians have clinched an incredible victory at the Adelaide Oval, but they received an assist from England. You can never underestimate the Warne factor in a game of cricket.

It was amazing that England's response last night - when Shane Warne produced some spinning, spitting deliveries - was positive. This morning the response was anything but positive. Warne bowled accurately and at the other end Stuart Clark asked questions to England's batsmen the whole way through. But England didn't lose a wicket for 43 minutes, in that time they scored only seven runs and it was that mindset that got them into trouble. Warne, once he saw that the runs weren't coming, got into his line and length and started to weave his magic.

England were a little unlucky to lose their first wicket, Andrew Strauss, to a dubious decision. Their mindset was shown in the next dismissal - a run out. If the ball is hit three or four meters to the left hand of backward point and the run-out is at the non-striker's end, there's something wrong. Paul Collingwood made the right call, there was a run there, he was going to the danger end - the keeper's end - and Ian Bell was run out. That was symptomatic of the thinking of the England players. There was a feeling that survival was the most important thing. I think that's the way they were thinking whereas in the other dressing-room there were thoughts of winning this match.

It was a rather rash shot from Kevin Pietersen. I'm not sure, but he seemed to injure his leg a little while running his first run and he was doing a few stretching exercises. Now whether it was the leg or this mindset that overcame him but he hardly ever swept Warne in the first innings. He tried to sweep Warne on this occasion, missed the ball on the full, and then it spun and hit the off-stump. They didn't allow England anything, 30 runs was all they could produce in that first session and from there they were in big trouble.

Warne was magnificent. It is amazing that you could even be talking about a man who took 1 for 160 in the first innings in the discussions for the Man-of-the-Match award. But that's the magic of Warne. Clark bowled magnificently. Brett Lee performed tremendously, he bowled a long spell before lunch and yet another after lunch. In fact, Clark and Lee bowled so well that McGrath didn't really get into the action. He was only there for the mopping up exercise.

Australia set themselves 168 through this magnificent bowling performance and Justin Langer showed the difference in thinking. He whacked the first ball he received over midwicket for a four. Ponting was in magnificent form. He played well after Langer was out early. When Matthew Hayden got a bit over ambitious, Ponting promoted Michael Hussey to No. 4. This pairing took the initiative away from England in the first innings and they did exactly the same in the second.

Andrew Flintoff has got to get something out of the other bowlers. If he could have found one other bowler bowling the same manner at the other end Australia might not have been able to get the runs, that's how well Flintoff bowled.

Both teams have played attritional, hard Test cricket for four days and England had matched Australia. But the last day, England's thinking went awry. They started to think of survival rather than victory and once you start to think that way you're in trouble.

Now, England are in huge trouble, I don't know what they are going to do with the selections but they have got a bowling attack with which they can't win. With Australia now 2-0 up in the series ahead of the third Test at Perth, it's difficult to see England climbing out of this huge hole.

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