Celebrity death match and tailend fun
Don't hassle the Hoff
First he became famous for owning a car with a bigger brain than him. Then he moved on to making red budgie smugglers into the 1990s fashion accessory of choice. In between whiles he single-handedly ended the Cold War. But today, when David Hasselhoff played a lofted cover drive off Shane Warne, while batting in the shadow of the Bradman Stand no less, he attained more greatness in a single sentence than in much of the rest of his career. Nevertheless, the Hoff stole the show on the second day at the SCG. His tenuous interest in cricket was telegraphed this week with a cameo appearance in Graeme Swann's latest video diary, and in the ten minutes before tea, there were as many people watching his antics with a plastic bat as were glued on England's serene acceleration against the new ball. The fact that, prior to the series, Warne had accused Swann of strutting around as if he himself was the Hoff added an extra frisson to their confrontation.
Don't hassle the Hilf
Ben Hilfenhoff, to give him his new (and presumably short-lived) nickname, has improved markedly as a batsman since he started his Test career with two ducks in three innings against South Africa in 2009. At Lord's in July, he transformed Australia's fortunes in the first Test against Pakistan with his maiden half-century, and today, he and Mitchell Johnson set about producing another rescue job in a free-wheeling 76-run stand for the ninth wicket, which had several nostalgic England fans daydreaming about Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm's anarchic onslaught on this very ground 16 years ago. The best moment of the stand was Hilfenhaus's dismissive drive over long-on for six off Tim Bresnan, a blow of such authority that Johnson felt obliged to follow up with a four and a six of his own off Graeme Swann's very next deliveries. In truth it was all too clean-cut to truly bear comparison with that mayhem of yesteryear. But tailend runs are always fun to watch.
Prior to this innings, Jonathan Trott's average against Australia was an extraordinary 100.83, and comprised of three hundreds in five Tests, including his brilliant 168 not out to put the Melbourne Test out of reach last week. In the blink of an eye today, however, he had a full 14 points lopped off that average, as Mitchell Johnson lured him into an unbalanced drive, and bowled him off the inside-edge for a six-ball duck. What is more, it was the very first 0 of Trott's Test career. In 29 previous innings he had only failed to reach double-figures on four occasions, with his lowest score of 3 coming against Bangladesh at Old Trafford in June.
Not six of the best
Brad Haddin was Australia's third No.6 of the series but he didn't provide anything useful and was the first wicket of the day. It was Michael Clarke's idea to promote Haddin above Steven Smith, who was rated a specialist batsman in Perth and Melbourne. Haddin managed 6 before he wafted outside off and was caught behind in the day's fourth over. His contribution took Australia's No.6 tally to 142 in eight innings, with Smith's 38 at the WACA the best so far.
Michael Hussey was looking dangerous by the time he reached his 30s and seemed extremely comfortable targeting Paul Collingwood's medium pace. In Collingwood's fourth over Hussey pulled him for two from the first ball, and then cover drove him four balls in a row. The field was immaculately set and the men were never beaten, but their hands were sore. Hussey felt ready to break free but the final ball of the over was fuller, straighter and swung in, clipping the batsman's inside edge on the way to the stumps.
Sydney likes Beer
Australia's debutants have received strong welcomes over the first two days. On the opening afternoon it was Usman Khawaja who received the praise and today it was Michael Beer's turn. Beer, the left-arm spinner, walked out to a loud cheer and was applauded when he defended a ball, and then glanced his first Test runs. The biggest roar came when he came on to bowl late in the day and had Alastair Cook caught at mid-off, but it was followed by a raucous boo. Billy Bowden wanted to check if there had been a no-ball. There was, so Cook stayed. Beer's mood improved slightly when he took the catch of Kevin Pietersen at fine leg.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo and Andrew Miller is UK editor