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

Generous leaves and Doug's near miss


Captain Calamity
But for the mercy of the Gabba's extra bounce, Andrew Strauss could well be batting in binary in this series - 0, 0, 1. After his third-ball slap to gully on the opening day in Brisbane, Strauss padded up to Ben Hilfenhaus's first delivery of the second innings, and escaped a raucous appeal with the ball skidding over the bails. Today at Adelaide, however, he showed he hasn't yet learned the lessons of that reprieve, as he hoisted his bat high in the air once again, and listened in horror as Doug Bollinger tickled his off bail.

Brothers in arms
Ryan Harris and Bollinger are the fresh faces for Australia and they confirmed their bowling bromance after Bollinger's first-over strike of Strauss. Harris went in for a congratulatory cuddle but as Bollinger turned his head the exchange almost turned into a sweaty kiss. It ended in cheek-to-cheek contact, which they felt was a bit too intimate for such blokey, burly men.

Costly drops
In Adelaide, it's important to make the most of half chances but Australia failed to take a series of offerings and were made to pay. The spills began when Xavier Doherty had a chance to do a Trott on Trott, but his throw from square leg went a metre wide of the stumps, giving the batsman a reprieve on 6. Four runs later, Trott was dropped at gully by Michael Hussey, who crouched forward and felt the ball go through his hands. Trott benefited again on 76 when Brad Haddin got both gloves to an edge behind but couldn't close them in time. The last miss wasn't costly, with Michael Clarke taking Australia's first catch of the game when Trott was 78.

On and on and on ...
Alastair Cook and Trott looked as though they could have batted for another week as they walked off the pitch at Brisbane. And once Trott had digested his early good fortune, they resumed where they had left off with a pitiless assault in some of the most brutal heat of the year. Trott in particular was ravenous through the leg-side, so it was quite a shock when he finally mistimed a clip off Harris and picked out Clarke at midwicket. The breakthrough meant that for the first time in five sessions Trott had to walk back to the pavilion alone, although he had by that stage helped to add 502 consecutive runs for England's second wicket.

Referral woe
"Oh bad luck you Aussies!" was Geoffrey Boycott's immortal cry at Old Trafford in 2005, when Michael Vaughan was bowled by a no-ball, only moments after surviving a dropped catch off Glenn McGrath. Whether or not one agrees with the referral system (and plenty of people do not) the effect of watching a hard-earned wicket being snatched away by technology is arguably more deflating than any error on the part of the fielding team. Such was the case when Peter Siddle thought he'd induced a glove down the leg-side off Cook on 64. Even as the finger went up, however, Siddle was mentally preparing himself for it to be taken back down again. Replays rightly showed that Cook's elbow had caused the deflection.

Death by cuts
Doherty's spin was meant to be more important than his fielding but he struggled with that too, particularly in an over before tea. Cook was in charge as Doherty dropped short outside off with three balls in a row and was cut to the boundary each time. Finger spinners hate being hit to point but Doherty could do nothing to stop the punishment.

Hello Kevin, where've you been?
Kevin Pietersen has not had much to get his teeth into in Ashes cricket of late. His 2009 campaign was curtailed after two Tests by injury, and his only chance to bat at Brisbane came on that frenetic first day. Since then he's been itching to get involved, but thwarted at every turn - firstly by the crease occupation by the trio above him in the order, and then by the Adelaide groundstaff whom he grumpily denounced as "pathetic" for failing to cover the nets during a downpour. This afternoon, however, he put all such issues to one side, and cashed in on a flat deck for his most effortless innings in months.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo and Peter English is Australasian editor

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hollis on December 4, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    After West Indies , I support Australia. But it appears that the mighty Aussies are continuing to slide after the retirement of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden, Mcgrath. I know these guys are difficult to replace and we have our problems here, but what's up with you guys man ...even your fielding seem to be sadly lacking and disappointing .

  • Damien on December 4, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    Brilliantly played so far, England. As an Aussie, watching the game from France, it's interesting to see how the Australian team is evolving through this period. Just how long this rebuilding period continues is hard to know. This English side is so much better than any others I ever remember watching in my youth. It's going to be very hard for Australia to even save this game. Even if they do, they still have to win matches to win back the Ashes. Tough ask from where I'm sitting...

    Time to get some more youth in the side, perhaps?

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    Yes, Australia are having quite a rough couple of days. Let's not get carried away, it looks like England have a better team which is not news, we knew that 2 weeks ago. Yet, the score is 0-0 and such hyperbole can look absurd. Even last week England were being rubbished one day, lorded the next. Grind them into the dust England!

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    so people still think Aussies are unfairly ranked where they are currently ?

  • Piyush on December 4, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    England are playing poor cricket,just trying to draw the matches.The crowd atmosphere was dull,another reason for another poor day for the aussies.Andrew Hilditch should be sacked alongside their bowling coach.Droppong Hilfenhaus and Johnson proved costly.

  • Agnel on December 4, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Indeed sad for the Aussies, now they dont even have a certain Andrew Symmonds, who used to cause trouble for successful opponent batsmen by his sledging. Now, they look like some tamed lions whose teeth removed!

  • siva on December 4, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Let us See whether Aussies go for Draw or loss, as punter always says Aus does not play for Draw!!!

  • Lalith on December 4, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    11 or 12 Kangaroos are getting cooked in Adelaide.

  • Vinay on December 4, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    The real mauling for the aussies is yet to come. Let Broad and Anderson come to bat!!!

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    A team which can not even win against a struggling team like Pakistan and which was whitewashed by India cant be expected to win against England.

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