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Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day

England chip away on rain-hit day

The Report by Andrew McGlashan at the SCG

January 3, 2011

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Australia 4 for 134 (Hussey 12*) v England
Scorecard


Lunch is called as Chris Tremlett celebrates removing Phillip Hughes, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2011
Chris Tremlett struck moments before lunch to lift England © Getty Images
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The hard work of Australia's top order was beginning to unravel at the SCG as both sides sparred for the ascendency on a truncated opening day of the final Ashes Test. The hosts had slipped to 4 for 134 when further rain ended play, with Usman Khawaja falling to the final ball before the weather closed in having made 37 in a promising start to his Test career.

England couldn't quite match the intensity of their opening day in Melbourne, but chipped away once the opening partnership was broken in the final over before lunch when Phil Hughes edged to third slip. Shane Watson went for another unfulfilled innings when he nicked Tim Bresnan and Michael Clarke's first innings as Australia's 43rd Test captain continued his poor run when he cut to gully.

Clarke had been greeted by a heady mixture of boos and cheers, the former in the majority, and for a short while there was a glimpse into Australia's likely future with the captain alongside the new No. 3. Khawaja began his Test career by racing to 15 off eight balls as he rode on the emotion of the occasion before reigning himself in with some solid defence. However, with another shower moments away, he top edged a sweep against Graeme Swann which looped to square leg.

It was clear from the start that Clarke was feeling the nerves of his first real day in the top job. He watched pensively from the dressing room as Australia got off the mark and he may secretly have wished not to have needed to make a decision at the toss. Batting first is usually the way forward in Sydney, but a muggy, overcast morning and a tinge of green on the pitch meant England's quicks weren't disappointed to have first crack at a top order they have largely dominated during the series.

However, whereas they regularly found the edge in Melbourne here the ball beat the bat frequently, especially in the first hour, without getting reward. Chris Tremlett caused the most problems during a probing first spell where he troubled Watson and Hughes with extra bounce.

James Anderson also found swing to have a couple of stifled lbw shouts although he was troubled by his take-off area, almost turning his ankle with his second ball, and also gained a warning for his follow through from Billy Bowden. His first spell ended with figures of 5-0-5-0 and after 12 overs Australia had 17 runs, but the value of not losing early wickets was far greater than what the scoreboard showed.

The determination started to pay off as Hughes tucked into Bresnan's second over with consecutive boundaries then cut Swann's second ball to bring up Australia's fifty. Watson gave a good lesson in leaving on length as Tremlett's deliveries kept sailing over the stumps, but Hughes wasn't equal to the challenge when he pushed outside off and offered a simple chance to third slip.

It meant Khawaja had 40 minutes to ponder his first ball in Tests, but he calmly clipped his opening delivery from Tremlett through the leg side for two then cracked away a bristling pull next ball. He was later given another gift on leg stump which was flicked away and had the skill to play with soft hands so when he twice edged the ball it fell short of second slip.

Either side of a needless stoppage for bad light - the floodlights hadn't been turned on - Khawaja appeared to have plenty of time to play his shots, guiding Tremlett down to third man, and was confident to come onto the front foot in defence. Watson, after hitting his first boundary from his 89th ball, was also starting to find rhythm.

However, with another half-century looming Watson played forward to Bresnan and the ball shaped away a touch to find the edge and was well taken at first slip. He slammed his bat in frustration before dragging himself off the pitch.

Clarke began with a sweet cover drive first ball, but rain then forced an early tea and when play resumed he tried to cut a ball that cramped him for room and gave Anderson a catch at gully. A captain's job is much tougher when he isn't making runs and it has been Clarke's poor return in this series which has clouded his future as the long-term leader.

Mike Hussey's early scoring shots were mainly down to third man as he kept the slips interested on a surface juiced up after being covered. But it wasn't seam or swing that ended Khawaja's two-hour stay when he went to sweep the final ball of Swann's first over back. However, given the problems facing Australia, the first sight of Khawaja in a baggy green was a rare piece of promising news.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 4, 2011, 10:58 GMT)

@hyclass; thank you for bringing us English up to date with Hughes. We knew that our bowlers had bounced him around - but I thought that he was dropped for the infamous "tweet" business in the last Ashes - had then had a bust up with Ponting. Hauritz and Hughes clearly not on Pontings christmas list. I don't know what the story is with Aus coaching and selection - but it looks weird and these two good players have not come on in the way that they should have. Also @hyclass; what is your take on Merv Hughes walking off the panel? I'd be very intersted to hear your side of that....

Posted by hyclass on (January 4, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

Yesterday, Khawaja debuted with 37 for australia. He clearly needs more time in first class cricket to develop his game. Like Smith, his game is incomplete. Smith has no recognisable back foot play. He comes forward and stays there. Khawaja has trouble when the ball bounces outside off stump and edged a couple of times. It doesnt help that the entire australian team is under bizarre instructions to let as many balls go as possible. There were momentary glimpses of the authentic batsmen, quickly snuffed out by hours of letting wide balls, half trackers and half volleys pass by. What bowler wouldnt thrive under those circumstances. This team is easily the worst coached i have ever seen and every batsman shows nagging doubt over whether to risk attacking or tow the team line.To batsmen, doubt is fatal. The last time i saw the authentic Phillip Hughes was in NZ when he smashed 86 not out of 75 balls to win the game and was then dropped. Bring back the real Hughes and lets start attacking.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 4, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

Day 2 session 1 is over and it's looking good for England dismissing Australia for 250 (ish). The match will be decided by how well the England batters can start as it's expected that the pitch will improve before getting 'sporting'! Or to put it another way... how well Australia bowl! Khawaja's start was OK but I still maintain that 30ish is below par for a world class number 3. Do the maths. If the first 6 all average 35 and the next 5 all average 15 (realistic) that's going to get the team 285 - which isn't going to win you many test matches! Biggus' inputs and comments are pretty sound as always and it's good to hear from an Aussie with both feet on the ground! I think there is a twist or two to come yet and maybe the good Johnson will turn out for Australia today? We'll see as it progresses..... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 1:38 GMT)

HUGE difference in quality of play, between the IND-SA match, and this one, both played on top-class grounds, greentops, in southern summer, rain-hit/overcase / sunny conditions. England's bowlers are nowhere near as nagging and aggressive as Flintoff and Hoggarth used to be, and the present AUS batting vs. the Hayden-Langer standards, looks pathetic.

Hope to watch some thrilling, evenly-matched games between (still Ponting/Clarke-led) AUS vs. Bangladesh, Ireland and Zimbabwe). UDRS has cost Australia the 4-wicket advantage they used to have over visiting teams.

Posted by hyclass on (January 4, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

Phillip Hughes was the youngest australian debutante in 25 years. He arrived there with an enviable batting record that included the youngest player at 19 to score a century in a Pura Cup final, a first season record of over 600 runs at 62 and a double of 151 and 82 not out against Tasmania who have one of the better state attacks. He made a gutsy and fast scoring 75 on debut against Syen and Co.and followed it with twin centuries in the next test(youngest ever to do so), bringing up his maiden hundred with twin sixes. He finished the series with 415 runs at 68. He then returned to his county side and scored 3 consecutive centuries. He was roughed up by Harmison, the same guy that along with Flintoff, roughed up the entire australian side in 2005 and 2009. Nielsen dropped him claiming he exceeded their expectations in Sth Africa, showing it was always their intent to drop him. They butchered his technique and stopped his stroke play.Sack Nielsen.Hughes has my admiration and respect.

Posted by Biggus on (January 4, 2011, 0:31 GMT)

@phoenixsteve-Much as I like to see Oz win I mostly just like to watch good cricket and if sometimes that means acknowledging that we are outmatched so be it. I thought Khawaja looked promising but he'll be kicking himself at the way he was dismissed, given that the approaching clouds must have been visible.@Hema_Adhikari-Quantum mechanics and cricket eh? Presumably, like 'Schroedinger's cat', until I sit down if front of my TV and turn it on all outcomes are possible (including Australia winning presumably). I fear that when I do so and the wave function collapses I will find it is indeed an Ashes contest and the cat is dead. Mitchell Johnson's erratic form does have a certain quantum weirdness to it though. I think he'll bowl well in South Africa today.@5wombats-What I've seen of Beer looked ok. If Allan Border can take 11 wickets in a test here against a strong WI line-up anything is possible, except maybe 'viru batting steadily' and 'India bowling really well' in an Ashes test.

Posted by powerash5000 on (January 4, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

If you don't know where Hughes has come from you don't know much about anything. Maybe you should follow cricket a little more or at least look at the records that have got a player to where they are. Hughes has proven himself in first class already as the most talented batsman since bradman. It was a joke he was dropped to begin with. He has been out of form since returning from a disslocated shoulder, is that particularly surprising?

Posted by longdonkey on (January 3, 2011, 23:31 GMT)

Khawaja showed enough to see he will be a long term player and its not because of the number of runs but the way he got them. It has to do with the application, shot selection, temperament, technique and his pressence at the crease. Hughes AGAIN out caught on the crease is a direct contrast to Khawaja even though he looked OK until getting out exactly the same way he normally does.

Posted by Mike250 on (January 3, 2011, 23:07 GMT)

Kwaja indeed was a breath of fresh air but 37 is 37 is 37; it's a decent start and hardly worth much more than a glance on a scorecard. Channel 9 and the media &^%$ me with their agenda driven superlatives of the knock. Watson gets 37 and he didn't go on with it again. Ponting gets 37 and he struggles again. Hussey gets 37 and he is fading from his prolific start to the series. But wait... Kwaja gets 37 and he lights up the SCG.

As an Australian I have realized that after so many years of domination our turn is up. The past few seasons has made me realize just how good the Dominator's were. As with the Windies of the 70's and 80's, we got used to winning and it doesn't feel right losing.

But it's okay. England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India being so competitive is great for cricket, great for the spectator. Ashes 2005 breathed such a welcome revival into the contest, I am only disappointed that I can't seem to find a BluRay to replace my DVD of that series.

Posted by MinusZero on (January 3, 2011, 23:04 GMT)

Surely Clarke cannot be retained any longer. The selectors faltered again in their selections, it was the prime opportunity to showcase some new talent with the Ashes already gone. It is beyond me how Hilfenhaus keeps getting selected. There must be a back room deal or something. They should have brought in a new young quick like Copeland or Cameron. They need to move to the future before it is too late. I also would not bring Ponting back, he was hanging on by a thread and is choosing a 36 year old again the way forward? Same with Katich. No Pain No Gain, cop some losses and in the long run Australian cricket will be better off.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 21:45 GMT)

Having read the comments I had to check the scorecard again to see if Khawaja really got 37 and not 237. Expectations are dropping in the Antipodes clearly. I guess with some of the debuts this series 37 is pretty good. Seriously though he looks like a reasonable prospect. Hughes though is a joke. Where has he come from? He just needs to go and not come back. He is not the answer to any problem that Aus have. Simply embarrassing to the game.

Posted by Coastaltown on (January 3, 2011, 21:43 GMT)

Personally I'm prepared to give Saravan the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is a highly perceptive commentary on the propensity of some fans to hijack ashes threads with utter irrelevancies. I'll go one further and posit my sadness that Sachin has failed to have much impact on the series thus far, though you never know.

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2011, 20:20 GMT)

Phoenixsteve will appreciate this one: doesn't the photo of Michael Beer on his cricinfo player page look just like the young John Elway? Check it out- it's uncanny. Maybe they didn't have a photo of Michael Beer and just pulled an old Elway pic out of the archives, figuring no-one knew what Beer looked like anyway.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 3, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

Clarke trusted his untested new spin bowler more than he trusted Johnson and so batted first. Nice comments here; @landl47 - nice nailing of Marcio and friends. He he! I think Aus are behind here - 4/134 and down to the last 2 Aus batsmen who have done anything this series. If Haddin and Hussey dig in then Aus get 300+ and have a chance, Mmmm.... maybe.... pitch looks flat at the moment and if the sun shines it should be ok to bat on days 2 and 3. Contrary to some other posters here I think Khawaja was just ok - he was just better than what went before at No3 for Aus.... @phoenixsteve; I'm assured that @Biggus has a big garage and plenty of tinnies...... Enjoy Day 2 guys!

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

Comments on comments: @dh74: Michael Beer has scored 46 runs at an average of 9.2, with a high of 24*. I would say he isn't being played for his batting, but with 16 wickets @ 43, he doesn't seem to be in for his bowling either. Maybe he's a REALLY good fielder. @Stormy16 and Sara Venkat: maybe you guys can get together and decide which match you're watching. It seems to be different from the one the rest of us are talking about.@Gulshan: you'll get your wish in England in 2011, when India try to add to the 5 wins they've picked up on English soil since 1932. It should be a good contest. @phoenixsteve: I'm in the USA, too, in Illinois. I grew up in London, though. It's great that we can now follow cricket via the internet and even get to talk about it. It would be fun to meet everyone and cricket fans everywhere hopefully would be happy to share a beer and discuss the game we all love.

Posted by Hema_Adhikari on (January 3, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

To all exasperated Poms and Kangaroos: obviously, you simpletons know nothing about probablity wave, string theory and uncertainity principle.. Just because Indians are not playing in Sydney in this space time continuum does not rule out that they are not playing in Sydney for sure. If that screws with your head, welcome to modern physics :)

To all the string theorist from India, do, once in a while, bother to check topic of conversation before typing in your insight for the world wide consumption.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 3, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

I have just treated myself to a re-read of the cricinfo comments. it's a slow day and I like to be informed (Biggus + Landl47) entertained by delusions (popcorn, Jonesy2 and Marcio) and exasperated by the non-relevance (all the many Indian cricket fans). Our little cricinfo community is spread around the world (I'm in the USA) but wouldn't it be great if we could all meet up and enjoy a beer and some face to face banter? It would be fun to find out whether Biggus and Landl47 are really as pragmatic as they seem. Fun to watch the Indians talking about tendulkar and co - regardless of the topic of conversation and see if we can pick Jonesy2, Popcorn and marcio out from pure APPEARANCE! I kow what I'd be expecting......

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 3, 2011, 18:26 GMT)

@ aracer... as i said 30ish is not what you want from your no3? Or have Australian expectations plummeted so low, in the face of a class bowling attack? Regarding Ponting... his biggest problem was that the above mentioned attack didn't let him get started! Now, if RP had got to 30+ we would all (both side's supporters) been EXPECTING a big ton! Get it now aracer? COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 3, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

Having just slept after the day 1, it's entertaining to read the comments and get the different perspectives! The general verdict from the Aussie fans is that Kwawaja's debut was a success? I disgaree - but will concede it wasn't a total failure. When you're happy at your no3 getting in and scoring 30ish, it's a sign that expectations are low. Your no3 needs to be one of the guys your looking to score a ton - especially when you have chosen to bat first? To win test matches the tried and tested method commonly is: 1) Win the toss 2) bat first 3) Score 500+ (putting opposition in the field for nearly 2 days) 4) take 3 or so early wickets & end day 2 right on top! Australia not only don't look likely to score 500, but it seems their fans will be happy with 350 - which at the current R/rate going will be achieved in day 3! As far as Ponting being on the scene goes.... HE IS THE CURRENT AUSTRALIAN CAPTAIN! It also seems that Pup lived up the his nickname! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by Silloh on (January 3, 2011, 17:15 GMT)

First day not excellent by Aussie's standards, but fair considering their ccurrent challenges. Saw Usman bat for the first time last night (Caribbean ) and very impressed with his temparament. I believe he can only get better and this augers well for the future. Michael Clarke didn't appear comfortable and for a skipper the lack of confidence he appeared to exude, one could have easily gotten the wrong impression that he was the debutant. Surely the crowd didn't help him and I really am not sure why . But surely, all past Australian captains in my opinion were tough and of strong character and full of confidence. May be Clarke is not ready for the skipper's job but you have to wonder... when, or if he will ever be ever ready . I wish him well though with a solid century in the 2nd innings, but with an exciting Test ! Strauss continues to be excellent as a skipper.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (January 3, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

Well done Venkatesan. We all want India to bat well in the Sydney test. Obviously geography is not your strong point.

Posted by Gulshan_Grover on (January 3, 2011, 17:03 GMT)

I see this match between no. 4 and 5 and then I also witness the contest between no. 1 and 2 and wonder what would have happened if India played with England instead in Sydney or in Capetown. Bowling to Usman Khawaja is one thing but bowling to openers from hell, (followed by The Wall and the Master Blaster himself) is quite another. Would Zaheer enjoy bowling to Strauss as much as he does to Smith (his bunny). Similarily, would australian players struggle against Dale Steyn and Morkel as well or it is just Anderson and Tremlett specific phobia? I know one would have to wait till a bilatereal series comes along but by then things would have changed: key players may lose form or worse get injured, or play on one of those sleeping beauties where skill is neutalized. That is why true cricket lovers need a test championship, within a time frame and on relatively similar pitches to see how it all shapes up. Pipe dream may be, but I am sick of meaningless ODIs and 20/20s already.

Posted by chiggers on (January 3, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

@ Saravanan Venkatesan - particularly well, especially as they are several thousand miles away at the moment...

Posted by Biggus on (January 3, 2011, 16:43 GMT)

Stormy thinks we were sent in! Well that's odd but even more curious is that Saravanan Venkatesan seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that India is playing at the SCG. That makes stormy look like a genius.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

INDIA SHOULD BAT REALLY WELL TO STAY IN THIS MATCH....

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (January 3, 2011, 16:16 GMT)

i thought the morning was gripping- a forensic examination of temperament and technique by the bowlers. It was strange to see Watson playing like that, but he is work in process. I would have liked Swann to bowl a few more overs. overall i think England did well particularly as captaincy provided no immediate boost to Clarke's fortunes. Kwaja looked a class or four better than Hughes or Smith. I am still wondering quite what North cannot do that Smith can...poor guy,giving way to that. replacing players should be about putting a better player in, not a complete buffoon. and poor Hauritz!!! Justice is quite strange at times.

Posted by SzlyAr on (January 3, 2011, 15:49 GMT)

This lad is a good prospect for Australia. The selectors should give him time to settle down in this wobbling line up. He will pay dividends for Australia for sure.

Posted by mrklinkerpants on (January 3, 2011, 15:20 GMT)

Stormy16: England didn't win the toss and choose to bowl first - Clarke won the toss and chose to have a bat. As such, the Aussies can hardly see 4 down for less than 150 as a good days work for them?!

Posted by nathangonmad on (January 3, 2011, 15:19 GMT)

Uhm Stormy. You know Michel Clarke won the toss and asked to bat right?

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

@stormy16 - the Aussie weren't put into bat, they chose to bat so in a normal test I think they'd be disappointed to be 4 down. With the current state of things I'd say they are probably relieved!

Posted by Biggus on (January 3, 2011, 14:53 GMT)

I reckon anything under 300 will be a worry. The whole idea of batting first is to force the English to chase on a 5th day wicket of course, but that assumes that they will have to bat twice, hence my concern that we establish at least that amount. The Poms will back themselves to make 350-400 in their first dig unless 'Super Mitch' turns up, and anything less than 200 to win in the fourth innings is unlikely to be enough. History has shown that even ordinary finger-spinners can be a real handful on the last day at the SCG. Can make 300?-well, I live in hope.

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2011, 14:48 GMT)

Great to see that popcorn, Mervo and Marcio have analyzed the situation and know what to do. Popcorn will fix all Australia's ills by having Clarke and Hussey change places in the batting order. Mervo realizes that Australia is too young and would go for older players to build Australia's future (for how long he doesn't say ). Marcio understands that it is the pitches which are to blame- somehow the Australian curators are preparing pitches which favour the bowlers while Australia is batting and favour the batters when Australia is in the field. None of them, of course, think that Australia's problems have anything to do with England playing well.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

steve smith out and ricky ponting in preferably lower down the order with hussey at four not clarke and the team would be fine

Posted by chiggers on (January 3, 2011, 14:38 GMT)

But, stormy16, if you win the toss and choose to bat, as the Aussies did, then you should be expecting to make 350+; and with four of their five specialist batsmen gone already then 134-4 is a long way short of expectations. On that basis England, who lost the toss, would be quite happy.

Posted by DrDamo on (January 3, 2011, 14:36 GMT)

Once again Clarke fails with the bat. Why is he still there? So what if he has been groomed for the captaincy for years. Drop him.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

Feel quite sorry for Clarke, when he was on song last Ashes, his strokeplay was exquisite. Even look back all the way to his debut, and his powerful hitting and strokes. Now, he really does seem to be lacking in confidence and composure - and thus looks a shadow of the former batsman. With the captaincy, Im just willing him on to get a big score in the 2nd innings - the only thing that will aid the relenting pressure on his position as future captain or future player.

Posted by Guernica on (January 3, 2011, 14:09 GMT)

Intriguing day, annoying rain. This is going to require some patient batting from both sides. Looks like more of a Cook/Trott/Colly kind of pitch than a KP one. Does anyone know what Michael Beer's batting is like?

Posted by vichan on (January 3, 2011, 14:09 GMT)

@Mervo "This England/South African side is good but they are not great": Whilst that may be the case, this Australia/Pakistani side are being made to look worse that they are by their more tactually astute and talented opponents.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

AUS BATTING ORDER

Watson Hughes Khawaja Hussey Clarke Ponting Haddin Johnson Siddle ? ?

Posted by stormy16 on (January 3, 2011, 13:45 GMT)

If you win the toss and ask the opposition to bat you expect to bowl them out cheaply, probably 200 max. 134-4 is about even I reckon but its still there for the taking tomorrow. The problem I see is Aus are playing with 5 batters and 4 are already out. Smith I dont beleive is a specialist batter and Haddin is too loose to be a specialist bat but very handy wicky/bat and there in lay Aus issues. If they played a proper #6 probably be reasonably happy with the position but now Eng can run through and Aus can still get bowled out under 200 and again its all on Hussey. I just cant get past this Smith decision and Hughes who has failed again and why wouldnt he - he had no form comming in to the side and his technique is still flawed which is why he was dropped in the first place.

Posted by voma on (January 3, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

Who the hell is viru ? and what has he got to do with this match ! . Back to the ashes , both sides are in a reasonable position to go on and take control . 250 might be a par score , so the aussie are doing ok .

Posted by ell_bee on (January 3, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

Poor Clarkey. What we need here is a plastic surgeon to augment his lips so that he can pout with conviction and a cosmetic manufacturer to supply loads of anti-wrinkle cream to enhance his image with sponsors because he can't bat and cant bowl. Lets face it as hes only a bit over 30 years old he has to keep up his image in the Aussie team for another 6-7 years with the selectors thinking the way they do.

Posted by Piyush_Advani on (January 3, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

This year has been the worst for the Oceanic teams,Aussies and Kiwis.Hope this year will bring them good luck!

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 3, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

@msanjeet, Yes Viru has batted steady for 13. Please comment on this topic only about Aussies/Poms

Posted by Marcio on (January 3, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

The score, while it could have been more, is not so bad. 300 runs will be a decent score, if the conditions don't dry up (as they seem to every time England bats, for some bizarre reason - but they have batted second 4/5 times, which is the main reason for that). No team has scored more than 260 batting first this series, and the unusual wet conditions are the reason - relatively green wickets and swing. At any rate, batting last and chasing anything more than 200 is often a problem on the SCG. But then again, with all the rain, the pitch may not deteriorate as much as usual. Khawaja looked very good. He will be a real asset to Australian cricket in future. There's plenty of talented players around, both batsmen and bowlers, but they haven't been managed well. Let's hope CA do a better job with Khawaja.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

@msanjeet....Who is viru and what is his purpose here? And please improve your grammer.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 3, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

I have never seen a Mum and the family behind a Son like Usman's Mum before in Aussie Cricket. I am very impressed with Usman and CA and Aussies need to look after this young Usman well. He should bat at No 3 in the future if Aussies need to improve cricket. Well done Usman and keep up your good work as a lesson for Punter and Pub. Lalith Kuruwita, Sydney

Posted by Herbet on (January 3, 2011, 11:59 GMT)

I'd say England are top purely because Australia have the longest tail since the dinosaurs pegged it. Get Haddin or Hussey out early and we can rattle through them quickly. How long are Australia going to be satisfied with Watson as an opener wasted starts?

Posted by Biggus on (January 3, 2011, 11:27 GMT)

@msanjeet-"Viru most play a steady innings ", you say. That may be the case but he's not playing in this match.

Posted by Okakaboka on (January 3, 2011, 11:18 GMT)

Would someone give me an idea of how many more failures will Clarke be allowed to make before he is dropped. I know.....Yes....according to 'Godfather Hilditch' he is special.......What?....just because he appears in the sponsors ads? If he was from another State, he would have been dropped before he had gained the nickname 'Pup'.

Posted by KingJezza on (January 3, 2011, 11:04 GMT)

"ascendency", "reigning himself in". Need a proof-reader?

Posted by msanjeet on (January 3, 2011, 10:56 GMT)

Viru most play a steady innings

Posted by popcorn on (January 3, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

Ever since Michael Clarke moved up to No.4, his batting scores have deteriorated sharply.He MUST move back to his orignal position - Number 5, where he scored his most runs. Michael Hussey is comfortable in ANY position - he was originally at no.4,scoring well,and now scoring well at No.5 too. So Hussey should move back to No.4. Remember, Steve Waugh, Captain batted at No.5 and scored century after century. This will bring the much wanted stability into the Australian Team.Usmam Khawaja bat beautifully, and has fitted in nicely in the important No.3 role.He s here to stay.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (January 3, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

Interesting situation. England probably just ahead at the moment, but with Hussey and Haddin still there, and the mecurial Mitch waiting in the wing - who knows? Add another 200 runs and it wont look that bad on this wicket. I don't think the Aussies will be too worried by the slow run rate - it's a five day game after all. Still, England is in the driving seat at the moment, and will definitly have the possiblity to bat Australia out of the match - whether (or weather) they grab it is another matter altogether. Game on!

Posted by aracer on (January 3, 2011, 10:00 GMT)

@phoenixsteve I wouldn't call 37 on debut a failure - it's 25 runs better than that other rubbish no 3 they've finally got rid of managed in a first innings. I'd say England only slightly on top were it not that Australia need to win this and England only need a draw - you're not going to win many matches scoring at 2.3 an over.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 9:55 GMT)

Not really sure if honours are even. If you ask to have a go with the bat you do not want to be 130-4. Wicket will flatten out tomorrow for the poms 1st (and only) dig. Spin to win from 4th afternoon.

Have just got to mention Mark Cosgrove. Things must be bad in Aus if anyone is thinking of him playing a part. Hit and giggle pie eater. The game has long sinced moved on from people like him. Good fun in the bar I am sure.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 3, 2011, 9:45 GMT)

I didn't get my 3 down at lunch but 3/113 in 50ovs still acceptable. Despite their evident restraint 4 Aussies still got themselves out. 4/134 is average for Australia in the context of their batting so far this series - in other words pretty poor. Normally they are 5 down for 150 in their 1st Inns. England could have had more wickets but their bowling contained more lose ones than usual. Khawaja a definite improvement on the walking wicket that was the previous Aus no3 - but that's not saying much and he still played some soft shots - especially the silly one he got himself out with. Surprised that Clarke elected to bat and surprised that England didn't do as much damage as the conditions suggested. Obviously a good batting pitch at present. Anderson not quite right. But what of Ponting in the rooms!!!! @hyclass; "...He cant control his own bat or behaviour on the field..." add the words "or mouth" and you are fully correct. Ponting; oh dear, oh dear...

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

It was big disappointment for English because they are undoubdtly on top at the moment........

Posted by Mervo on (January 3, 2011, 9:00 GMT)

Too many young players who are being destroyed by being picked to early. Get rid of Smith - he may never play test cricket - Hughes has a terrible technique for an opener - Hilfenhaus who is lucky to get one wicket a test, and Clarke who now has 36 (!!) innings without a century. In their place some older more experienced players who are reliable and tough: White - the most winning Shield captain in years, David Hussey with thousands of runs behind him and Stuart Clark - still an outstanding bowler. that will let the young guys develop in Shield cricket. Finally get rid of our out of touch and just plain dumb selectors, Hilditch, Cox and Boon. We need ones such as Langer, Hayden and Waugh who have some idea about modern cricket. This England/South African side is good but they are not great and to watch their humble seamers make our players seem hopeless, is depressing. Time for a new broom!

Posted by hyclass on (January 3, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

Graham Pollocks' approach to batting was see the ball, hit the ball. His stance at the wicket has been described as cramped and ugly. Bradmans grip was unorthodox. Noone tried to change them. Hard to believe that anyone less than text book orthodox could succeed and if you listen to the current coaches they cant. Watson plays straight, but cant get past 50 without being dropped, is edgy between point and slip and a huge lbw chance. Ponting has batted 15 to 20 runs below his average for 4 years. He was always hard at the ball early, but he added hitting in the air on the legside to that. Clarke still fails against the bouncing ball outside off stump. He often gets caught playing with his weight too far forward. North never got more consistent. Hughes had his attacking game dismantled by the coaches, supposedly in pursuit of technique, but in truth to justify dropping him for Watson. It took years of failure for Hussey to attack again. England isnt the enemy. These inept coaches are.

Posted by slm6 on (January 3, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

Apologies to Andrew McG. for my comment on his tea bulletin. Have since heard that many people *were* boo-ing Clarke. Shame on them. I really enjoy your bulletins, btw. Must be hard work getting such good quality out so quickly.

Posted by eyballfallenout on (January 3, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

Interesting side now, only Huss and Haddin are over 30 years old! I wonder if the selectors will stick with the young guys or continue to chop and change. The only add i like is Cosgrove. Be a good young side then

Posted by brenno23 on (January 3, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

fascinating day of cricket, shame about the rain but it looks like it will only be a couple of showers tommorrow, very even day of tough cricket and great to see australia challenging england, let's hope they can win and get a drawn series! good innings by khawaja, seems to have a brilliant temprement to good with his technique, certainly looked calm and composed today. hope everyone's enjoying their cricket, thanks guys!

Posted by hyclass on (January 3, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

I was appalled to see Ponting still in the australian dressing room exerting his influence. What message does that send to the team and new captain? He cant control his own bat or behaviour on the field and has failed as a batsman for 4 years and captain for 2 years. There was clearly a team directive to leave a lot of deliveries in the first session. That shouldnt include half trackers, wide short balls and genuine half volleys. If those deliveries arent despatched then ridiculous pressure builds and the bowling side steals all the initiative. Hughes has been so badly misled by coaching staff that he is genuinely afraid to attack. He came into the team as a match winning opening batsman with his own style and a fantastic strike rate. He validated that in Sth Africa against the worlds best attack. All i hear lately is an obsession with technique. It hasnt worked for Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, North, Watson or Hughes. Remove the coaching staff immediately and give these players a chance.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 3, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

Rain shortened 3 rd session but at least England are back on track and slightly in charge! Both Clark and Khawaja faied - although Khawaja to a lesser extent? Hopefully England will wrap this innings up for around 250 and bat well to score 550 - although I suspect 450 will be enough? We'll see; but this is one English fan who's happy with day 1..... shame about this Aussie weather though! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by anver777 on (January 3, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

Not a bad start for debutant Khawaja !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really impressed with his batting a great future ahead !!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

Once again Clarke fails. But at leats teh no.3 looked capable of scoring runs in this series, unlike the guy he replaced. Based on Khawjas first knock, Ponting will never bat no.3 again..

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

At 134-4, England are beginning to get on top. They've been able to apply pressure and although the Aussies have fought hard, once again the top 4 have failed to make a hundred between them and this time they haven't made a 50 either. The Aussie commentators were saying that Clarke looked better (the same way that Ponting looked in form), but it's another failure for him. Khawaja looked a well-organized player, but after a bright start England tied him up and in the end he went for a sweep in Swann's first over of a new spell. Now it's down to Hussey and Haddin (again) to try and drag Australia to a respectable score. This doesn't seem to be a bad pitch to bat on, so unless Australia make at least another 200, they could be chasing a deficit again.

Posted by Aussasinator on (January 3, 2011, 6:26 GMT)

Khwaja has got at least 25 runs more than what Ponting would have got and hence it's a good beginnning for both Khwaja and Australia.

Posted by Biggus on (January 3, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

The rain is a big disappointment. It's been a most engrossing first day thus far, test cricket at it's tense best. Anderson looks a bit tired but Tremlett is still impressive, Watson is still plonking his front foot down way too early and will be a real LBW candidate in England. Khawaja looks to be enjoying himself and it's been a nice touch to see his family in the stands. Poor Mum Khawaja, she looks like a cat on a hot tin roof. I like what I've seen so far. My god, how I do love this game!

Posted by slm6 on (January 3, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

A mixture of cheers and boos for Clarke?? Where was Andrew standing? In the middle of the barmies?

Posted by Chris_Howard on (January 3, 2011, 4:08 GMT)

Watson's problem is he doesn't have the metal stamina for a long innings. Not surprising for an all-rounder. He struggles to last longer than 3 to 4 hours. Today's was a smidge over 3 hours. If he wants to become a batsmen, he needs to start spending all day in the nets, day after day, not just 2 or 3 hour sessions each day. And if he wants to force himself to concentrate even harder, he should put in some limitation, like no thigh pad, or only a front pad, or even where an eye patch. Anything to force him to concentrate harder, and therefore become mentally fatigued sooner. And then he'll build up mental stamina.

Posted by   on (January 3, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

i should say england need another wicket before tea so Mr.Clarke can taste the captaincy.. well done English Lions... :D

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 3, 2011, 3:57 GMT)

OK - Early tea taken due to weather. How the English must be missing that wonderful consistent British summer type weather.... when they have to put up with miserable Aussie stuff....... ;~) Once again honours about even, the Aussies would be ahead but for the slow scoring rate. It doesn't sound as though the English bowlers are having the best time of it, but at least the run rate is low. The hour after tea will be crucial and maybe we can have the Aussies 5 or 6 down by the close? This one might be a tight one..... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by Okakaboka on (January 3, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

Bill Lawry said it all....Accidental slip???....I don't know but it made me laugh: "Michael Clarke...New Captain for NSW..." Isn't what has been suggested by many? Great to see young Khawaja doing well..... Would be good to see him batting with young Aaron Finch from Victoria. This is where the future lies.

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2011, 2:05 GMT)

Lunch, day 1. Good fighting cricket from Watson and Hughes, but England kept them so well under control that another wicket will see them back in the same position they've been in every test. They have had a few decent opening stands, but because Ponting has failed in every innings which mattered and Clarke in most of them, losing the first wicket has always led to a collapse. Let's see if Khawaja can do any better.

Posted by cabinet96 on (January 3, 2011, 1:55 GMT)

agonizing for Hughes feel for him, a hundred was there for the taking after all the hard work.

Posted by pom_and_proud on (January 3, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

This is a bit mind numbing. Australia do realise that they need to win this test, don't they?

Posted by 5wombats on (January 2, 2011, 23:14 GMT)

Clarke has blown it - Aus to be 3 down by lunch....

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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