Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 2nd day December 4, 2010

Another Cook hundred gives England total control


England 2 for 317 (Cook 136*, Pietersen 85*, Trott 78) lead Australia 245 by 72 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alastair Cook's colossal series continued on the second day in Adelaide, where he and his batting colleagues ground Australia into submission and delivered complete control to England. At the end of a stiflingly hot 37-degree day, Ricky Ponting's men were sapped not only of energy, but also of virtually any hope of winning the Test, the ghosts of the Adelaide Ashes Test from four years ago notwithstanding.

Australia knew their first-innings total of 245 was a long way below par, but the optimists in the team might have hoped it could become competitive if a few early wickets fell their way. Any such dreams were dashed by Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, all of whom made batting on the placid surface look like a net session, and by stumps England were 72 in front, with only two wickets down.

A few more hours of batting from England, and they will be in a terrific position from which to push for victory. And what's a few more hours to Cook? Since the start of his second innings at the Gabba, Cook has batted for 17 hours without being dismissed, a display of concentration and physical durability worthy of a marathon runner. Add in his first innings in Brisbane, and he has made 438 runs in nearly 1400 minutes of batting.

Australian fans fondly remember Steve Waugh's efforts in the 1989 Ashes, when he was almost impossible to dismiss. It took him four Tests to score as many runs as Cook has made in one and a half. He registered his top score, an unbeaten 235, in Brisbane and there is no reason he can't match that effort in Adelaide, where he closed the second day on 136 not out.

Pietersen was with him, on 85, which was an equally ominous sign for the Australians, who knew Cook and Trott were in form but hoped they could exploit Pietersen's supposed weakness against left-arm spin. Pietersen had one nervy moment early against Xavier Doherty, when he advanced and tried to drive aggressively down the ground, only to see his thick edge lob safely wide of point.

Apart from that, he looked every bit the confident, dominant batsman who plundered 158 at the venue four years ago. He used his feet and placed the ball superbly against the spinners and had little trouble against the fast men, cruising to his half-century from his 77th delivery with a whip through midwicket for four off Peter Siddle. It's 18 months since Pietersen has scored a Test hundred, but it would be a brave person to bet against him breaking that stretch on Sunday.

The Cook-Pietersen partnership had blown out to 141 by stumps, with Pietersen rapidly gaining ground on his partner. Cook reached his 15th Test century from his 171st delivery, which was expertly cut forward of point for a boundary off Doherty, who had felt the brunt of Cook's power square of the wicket earlier in the day.

Cook had cut three consecutive fours in almost the same place, just forward of point, showing the Australians once again that while he was generally patient enough to leave fuller balls tempting him to drive, anything short would be treated harshly. Cook's innings was impressive not only for his fine judgment, but for being chanceless throughout the day.

On the one occasion that Australia won a decision against Cook from the umpire Marais Erasmus it was overturned on review; the caught-behind verdict off Siddle's bowling was shown on replay to have come off Cook's arm. Not that Australia had anyone to blame but themselves for failing to make more than two breakthroughs throughout the day, as they gave Trott three lives before he was eventually caught for 78 flicking Ryan Harris to Michael Clarke at midwicket.

Doherty missed an opportunity to run out Trott on 6, when his throw from square leg flew a metre wide of the stumps. Trott had enjoyed a direct hit from an almost identical position on the first morning to remove Simon Katich, which sparked Australia's top-order collapse. The side-on chance for Doherty was tough, but Michael Hussey had no such excuse.

Trott was on 10 when his edge flew low to gully, where Hussey dropped a catch he would normally have swallowed. Australian shoulders slumped, and it allowed Trott and Cook to build a 173-run stand that should have ended a fraction earlier, when Brad Haddin dropped a reasonably simple chance down leg side off Harris when Trott was on 76.

The runs had been flowing freely earlier in the day, when Australia's fast men fed Trott's leg-side habit with alarming generosity. Trott was in a positive frame of mind, fresh from his century at the Gabba, and he drove and flicked boundaries through the on-side with ease. During the middle of the first session England were moving at a limited-overs run-rate, adding 44 in a six-over period that sapped much of the positive vibe they'd enjoyed by removing Andrew Strauss in the first over.

In his first over of an Ashes Test, Doug Bollinger attacked the top of off stump and Strauss was bowled not offering a shot. It was the high-point of Australia's day, and it came from the third ball of the morning. There wasn't much to celebrate from the remaining 525 deliveres.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on December 5, 2010, 2:13 GMT

    @Something_Witty: what you say doesn't really hold up. Australia went in with a tail starting at #8- Harris, age 31, has no hundreds and only 6 50s in first-class cricket. He's not a lower middle order batsman. #5, Hussey, scored 93 and also got out to an excellent ball. North scored 26, Haddin got 56 and only got out when he was with the last man and going for his shots. So nos. 5,6 and 7 got 175 of Australia's 245 between them. Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 got 53 between them (admittedly Katich's 0 was Watson's fault). England's 1, 2, 3, and 4 have got 385 as I write (lunch on day 3) with Pietersen not out. If Pietersen makes no more and nos. 5,6 and 7 make 175 between them, England will get to 587 and still have Broad and Swann, both much better bats than Harris, to come. You can say that Aus needed a better bat at 8 (maybe Smith instead of Doherty), but really the fact is that the top 4 need to make runs on a good pitch and Australia's got 53. Maybe Anderson is just too good for them?

  • Michael on December 4, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    As an Aussie, I don't mind getting beaten by a better team, but I object to losing when we don't have our best available team on the park. In the past we carried captains when they had a rough spot, but the current culture of failures retaining their spot borders on illegal - there are too many good players kept down because the selectors are looking after their favourites. Issues with players not working with Ponting? Drop him. And North. And Clark. Admit you have not got a top class spinner and let HusseyD (Defensive) and SmithS (Attacking) back up whoever are the fittest quick bowlers available. Let them earn their spots back in the team if they are good enough.

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    Have Australia got the bowlers to take 20 wickets??? Doubt

  • David on December 4, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    This game will be a draw - rain is expected over the next couple of days and if you were there you would know the night before the first day there was a heavy dew and there was moisture on the pitch. The pitch was seaming a bit on the first day but yesterday the heat dired it out so that I would have got runs, an absolute batsmans dream. I expect England to get 500+ and Australia back will get 400+ and they run out of time when England bats again.

  • Hardalbir on December 4, 2010, 23:13 GMT

    Aussies time has been gone ..for winning ..they are #1 becoz of Warne, Glen, Waugh,Gilly,Martn, Hayden, & Langer. Ponting ego has broken..he never ever give respect to others ..only great player make great team, now he has to realize why australia was on #1 for so long not becoz of Ponting ..becoz such a great player. Aussies have to suffer more not in this serious for upcoming series also .. Well Done !!! England grab the chance rattle the aussies they are nothing right now strength in opening,,no strength in middle order,,worst bowling attack ever, they are confused which guy have to be pick for the playing XI. I hope Kevin will also make a ton tomorrow best of luck england .. win the ashes with style 3-0 or 4-0...make it whitewash ..I m sure if ponting will lose this series he has to think about his retirement.. definitely he will not be captain for next series..England kiss the kangros..........!!!!!!:)

  • Lewis on December 4, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    Australia are now faced with a critical selection dilemma if day 3 doesn't bring a chance in fortunes; namely who will be sent to face the media after the day's play? For Haddin to be making comments about the heat and conditions, on a ground with such good recent memories for them was unbelievable.

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    Is Glenn McGrath around for another one of his "5-0" predictions? Absolute joke this current Aussie unit...hope all this blind optimism comes around to bite Ricky in the butt!

  • Giles on December 4, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    @ Marico You really think Cook has 'modest ability' ? You need to watch more cricket mate, Cook sliced and diced the best Australia have to offer, and is coming back for seconds today. Modest ? No mate, he's really really good.

  • Giles on December 4, 2010, 22:15 GMT

    Hilarious ! All those people who were writing on here that "Dough and Pete would crush England...." seem to very very quiet. Peter Siddle looked like an ageing cart horse, Ryan Harris huffed and puffed but blew nobody down, and Doug was was just plain old average. Eng batting lineup are playing like the Ausse's used to do, how great this game is that the roels are now reversed, Strauss has command of a very sound ship, Punters is springing leaks left right and centre...soon to be sunk.

  • Crazyabout on December 4, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    Aus must get used to it...i'm enjoying it...when South Africa beat them is a test series at home...and hopefully this time England...great. Just bcos they are so arrogant...makes it all the more sweeter. Aus supporters...please, no excuses.

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