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December 3, 2010
Simon Katich joined an exclusive list of Australian batsmen run out without facing a ball when he was left high and dry by Shane Watson four balls into the game. Watson survived an lbw appeal but took off for a risky single without consulting Katich and Jonathan Trott's superb direct hit from square leg left Katich a couple of metres short. He was so angry at his dismissal that almost two hours later he was still stewing as he sat on his own below the dressing room. Scorers recording balls-faced is a relatively modern measurement, but in the past 40 years only two other Australians have had so little to do before being dismissed. The opener Wayne Phillips lasted four minutes at Port of Spain in 1983-84 while Rodney Hogg was caught short at Edgbaston in 1981.
150 and a duck
At the Gabba, Andrew Strauss's bid to set the tone for England ended in catastrophe with a third-ball steer to gully; now, down at Adelaide, it was Ricky Ponting's turn to register an untimely blob. Unlike his opposite number, Ponting was offered not a hint of width as Jimmy Anderson racked in the good fortune that had eluded him in the first Test, and grazed his outside edge for Graeme Swann to scoop low at second slip. There was an uncanny symmetry in the dismissal as well, for Ponting is playing in his 150th Test. The last Australian captain to reach that milestone was Steve Waugh, who also picked up a first-baller at Sharjah in 2002. In the final analysis of that match it scarcely mattered, however. Pakistan were shot out for 59 and 53.
The talk before the Test was that Steven Finn might miss out despite his six-wicket haul at the Gabba last week. On a legendarily flat deck, and with fearsome temperatures predicted for the coming days, the temptation to include the reverse-swing specialist Ajmal Shahzad was genuine. But in the end, England stuck to their first-choice attack and while Finn was once again slow to locate the ideal length, his ability to make something of nothing remains an undeniable asset. Australia were regrouping and Marcus North had moved into the 20s, an achievement that promised riches of the highest order. But then, with less than three overs to go until tea, he poked at a short wide one and snicked through to the keeper.
Swann comes to the party
Swann was not at his best throughout the first Test. Instead of an early wicket, his first one-off over went for 10, his first three for 26, and thereafter he was never allowed to settle as Mike Hussey got on his case and clobbered the short ball with unyielding power and accuracy. Today was different, right from the word go. Though he had to wait for his wickets, the incredible dominance of England's first-hour performance meant he could attack from the word go and keep the Cathedral End tied up while the seamers rotating from the City. He had to wait 25 overs to strike, but when it came it was crucial, as his nemesis Hussey poked to slip, before Ryan Harris, on his home debut, was adjudged lbw for the second first-baller of the day.
Harris, however, was convinced he inside-edged his first ball, an offspinner from Swann, and immediately called for a review as umpire Marais Erasmus's finger went up. The benefits of technology have been a regular issue during the first six days of the series and though the ball would have done little more than graze the outside of leg stump, this debate was over whether Hotspot showed a small spot on the side of Harris' bat. Billy Doctrove, the third umpire, wasn't convinced by the tiny mark that was visible on the replays, so Harris had to walk.
Chappell's near miss
A few people are grumpy at Greg Chappell and his fellow selectors after they dropped Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson, but are they disgruntled enough to take aim at his car? Chappell was on the phone when he opened the door of his taxi and it was ripped off by a passing vehicle. Eyewitnesses couldn't confirm whether the car that caused the damage was steered by a supporter of two unhappy fast men. Chappell was fine and at tea was in the back of a ute, being paraded around the ground with his brother Ian and Greg Blewett.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo and Peter English is Australasian editorFeeds: Andrew Miller
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