Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day

Cook and Bell build commanding lead

The Report by Andrew McGlashan at the SCG

January 5, 2011

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

England 7 for 488 (Cook 189, Bell 115, Johnson 3-97) lead Australia 280 by 208 runs

Ian Bell's serene form continued as he progressed past another half-century, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2011
Ian Bell played wonderfully for his first hundred against Australia but it was tinged with controversy © Getty Images

England are well placed to earn their first series victory in Australia for 24 years, having already retained the Ashes, after a day of dominant batting at the SCG as they built a lead of 208. The record-breaking Alastair Cook led the way with 189, his third hundred of the series, and Ian Bell scored his first century against Australia with an elegant, albeit controversial, 115.

Cook and Bell added 154 for the sixth wicket in the match-defining partnership and England's command was cemented when Matt Prior joined to add 107 for the seventh with Bell. It was another chastening day for Australia, who couldn't stem the flow of runs, and for Michael Clarke who now really knows the challenge ahead if he is the long-term captain.

As he did at Brisbane, Cook went through a host of records and by the time he fell had 766 series runs, leaving him second behind Wally Hammond's 905 in the 1928-29 Ashes for England batsmen. Incredibly, in an era when there are few tour matches, he also passed 1000 first-class runs for the trip and has now also spent longer at the crease in a series than any other England player.

For Bell this was the innings he'd been waiting his career to play, converting his pristine form into that cherished hundred. He has never played better than on this trip and again he oozed class. His cover drives continually bisected the field with timing to beat the deep sweepers but it wasn't an innings without controversy. On 67 he was given caught behind off an inside edge only for the decision to be overturned on review, even though there didn't appear to be conclusive evidence, and Snicko later proved Bell had edged the ball.

He was also dropped on 84, a firmly-struck return catch to Steve Smith, but was rarely troubled and reached his hundred with a back-foot push through the covers. While Bell didn't sweat much in the 90s, Cook had a nervous wait on 99 when he flicked a delivery from Michael Beer towards short leg where Phil Hughes claimed the catch and the Australians began celebrating. Cook, though, stood his ground and TV replays showed the ball clearly bounced and Hughes was unsure before joining in late with the appeal.

Smart Stats

  • Alastair Cook's aggregate of 766 runs is the second highest by an England batsman in an Ashes series. The highest is Wally Hammond's 905 runs in 1928-29.
  • Cook's century was his third of the series, making it the 23rd occasion that a batsman has scored three or more hundreds in an Ashes series. The previous occasion that an England batsman achieved this was when Michael Vaughan scored three centuries in 2002-03.
  • The 154 run stand between Cook and Ian Bell is the fifth highest for the sixth wicket for a visiting team in Australia.
  • England have passed 400 in four of the five Tests so far, which is the second time that a visiting team has achieved the feat. The last time England scored more than 400 on at least four occasions in a Test series in Australia was in 1928-29.
  • Bell scored his first Ashes century in his 18th Test. He has now scored 11 half-centuries and one century at an average of 32.36.

It was the second time Beer had been denied Cook's wicket after yesterday's no-ball and in the spinner's next over, Cook worked a single into the leg side to reach his hundred. He'd had a few other tricky moments, when he edged Shane Watson short of second slip on 87 then after passing his hundred nearly chipped Beer to midwicket, but it was a commanding display as he worked his way through the record books once again.

England really put their foot on Australia's throat when the second new ball was taken shortly before lunch as Cook and Bell both took advantage of the extra hardness. Clarke couldn't find a combination that worked as he made seven bowling changes in 14 overs. Ben Hilfenhaus's first over back went for eight then Bell played two perfect straight drives off Peter Siddle having taken time to play himself in. Bell knew this was the chance to make his good form count when it could make a real difference.

He had so much time to play against the quicks and toyed with Beer's length as he waited for anything short. Cook was also positive against the left-armer despite having a few more issues from the footmarks and drove impressively through the covers. Bell reached his fifty by using his feet against Smith - finally given a bowl in the 101st over - and launching him straight down the ground. By tea even Mike Hussey was having a bowl.

Cook looked set to join Hammond as the only England batsman with two double hundreds in a series but finally edged a drive to Hussey in the gully. However, his dismissal barely hampered England's progress as Prior played the perfect role to build England's lead at a swift pace. He lofted Smith for six and peppered the off side in a 54-ball half-century and, after passing his hundred, Bell joined in with ever more expressive strokeplay until edging Mitchell Johnson to slip.

The only sour note on England's day was another failure for Paul Collingwood who can only dream of the form shown by Cook and Bell. He found the middle of his bat largely elusive during a 41-ball stay and Johnson's first delivery of the day had reared to take the glove but looped fine of short leg. Collingwood wanted to be positive, which brought his downfall when he advanced at Beer and miscued his lofted drive towards mid-on where Hilfenhaus took a back-peddling catch.

It was a huge moment of relief for Beer who gave the umpire a quick look, just to make sure, and this time was able to celebrate his first Test wicket. At that point the match was fascinatingly poised but it was the last time Australia had any grip on proceedings. Now they face a mighty task to escape with a draw.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 8:57 GMT)

spritzertime I don't agree that whether the decision was right or wrong is up for debate, whether you know it or not, it is a law of cricket that the benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman,

Posted by Trickstar on (January 6, 2011, 0:51 GMT)

@Frank Christie I know what you're saying mate, but pro sports seem to be about the bottom line and that is winning, all sports have turned more and more like this, like you say ,financially too much at stake ,as well as media and fan pressure.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

As much I am an English supporter, I feel sorry for the Aussies. But I have to say they bought this upon themselves. The Selection Panel is the biggest joke, so is the coach and the team. If I can I would persuade Pidge to be the bowling coach. Shane Warne as full time coach. Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh for batting coach.

The entire selection panel needs to be fired including Greg Chappell.And the selection panel must have Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Mark Taylor, Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist. It's a fast paced game and Aussie team requires the ones that will stand up to this rapid change. Right now we have bunch of seat warmers in the selection panel

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

@landl47 .... "but to the players it's their livelihood" you wrote. very much the point sir.

Posted by mikepumpkin on (January 5, 2011, 23:06 GMT)

Totally cynical from Bell. Was correctly given out, knew he was out, and successfully gamed the referral system. Poor from the umpires too. Decisions are supposed to be overturned only when there is clear evidence that the original decision was wrong. This was the first time is the series that a correct decision was overturned, so very different to other situations such as Clarke in Brisbane

Posted by SC79 on (January 5, 2011, 23:02 GMT)

I've just heard of this wonderful alternative to Snicko technology - apparently it's called the human ear. Aleem Dar used it when he gave Bell out first time round. Seriously though, if UDRS is always going to be used, why doesn't the ICC scrap the expensive neutral umpires program, use home umpires everywhere and put the money saved into improving the UDRS technology and using it in every test match?

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 22:44 GMT)

gentlemen (and ladies). i'm not taking anything away from england who have played the most superb & riveting cricket all summer and fully deserve the urn. australia have been dismal. my point is, do you remember the days when batsmen walked ?. whether they were from the west indies, pakistan etc. the whole game lifted. it doesn't happen anymore. there's too much at stake. financially mostly. less tattoos and more sportsmanship i say.

Posted by Hutty86 on (January 5, 2011, 21:53 GMT)

Even the Shermanator's making runs! RIP Aussie Cricket!

Posted by spritzertime on (January 5, 2011, 21:46 GMT)

@robert gogerly weather the right desision was made is up for debate but you are very wrong about one thing the benifit of the doute is a common statment used by commentators but it dosent appear anywhere in the actual rules of cricket (bit of an old wives tale)

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 21:00 GMT)

As cricket lovers,we Aussies have been privileged to watch Cook this ashes series. If only we had a player who could mirror his determination to succeed. Broadcasting brickbat of the day goes to Mark Taylor who suggested that Australia was" half a batsman short". Guess we have been watching different games this summer with both Clarke and Ponting wasting valuable oxygen in the middle. Maybe the combination of that two was the half a batman he was talking about. As for our bowling - its woeful with standout Hilfenhaus getting a renewed contract would be a joke.

Posted by Trickstar on (January 5, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

@Frank Christie 'so influenced the tide' you must be joking, England were well on top at that point ,you want to remember when Hussey was plumb Lbw on the 1st test at 35 then went on to make 185, that's what you call influenced the tide. 'using the new rules to manipulate the contest ' you talk as if England are the only ones to use the referral system this way, at the end of the day, as snicko showed after the fact, the edge hardly even registered on snicko, which would suggest there was a good chance Bell might not have felt it, like many batsmen before him, very light edges are not always felt. Same thing happened with Clarke in a earlier test, where he edged it and hot spot showed nothing then snicko later showed it was a edge.

Posted by landl47 on (January 5, 2011, 18:39 GMT)

@Frank Christie: Were you disillusioned, then, when Mike Hussey edged and was caught behind by Prior off Swann in the third test? Hussey knew he had edged it, but he stayed, hoping the technology would work in his favor. Where's the difference? In that case the edge was a thick one and clearly showed, so Hussey must have known he was out. Yet there's no more sporting player on either side than Mike Hussey. He plays hard, he never whines and he always recognizes the efforts of his fellow professionals. What some people commenting here don't seem to realize is that this is just a game to us, but to the players it's their livelihood. As long as they play within the rules and accept the decision of the umpires (these days that means the third umpire, too) then they are entitled to any advantage the rules give them. Bell was entitled to a review, so he asked for it. Providing he didn't pull a Ponting and dispute the resulting verdict, that's just part of the game.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 18:17 GMT)

@ Chris_Howard on (January 05 2011, 07:04 AM GMT)

I agree 100%. I also understand that although the regulations require a negotiated agreement for the UDRS to be used in a series, the host nation in fact has the right to make the decision. Therefore it seems to me that any host nation which agrees to play India without the UDRS deserves all it gets, as SA have discovered in their current series.

Posted by voma on (January 5, 2011, 17:47 GMT)

If bell had been given out , which was the right decision ! . Its not going to make a great deal of difference now , mat prior would have just gone after the woefull aussie bowling . This talk about England getting the luck of the batting conditions and winning the toss . Dont make me laugh , the gulf between the teams is massive talent wise . Bring on India

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 17:12 GMT)

Guess what is COOKing over the ASHES............ another defeat for Austrailia.......? or they are men enough to pull the Match.....?

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 15:30 GMT)

@Frank Christie "...how did ian bell survive that obvious dismissal that so influenced the tide..." Er, wot? England were 385 for 6 at that point, a lead of over 100 and with Prior, Bresnan and Swann still to bat. The tide was already out and you were surfing it.

Posted by landl47 on (January 5, 2011, 15:30 GMT)

I can think of 4 decisions this series which might have been wrong because the technology was inconclusive (and the one Ponting argued wasn't among them). Clarke was given not out in very similar circumstances to Bell in the first test, but was out a couple of runs later. Ponting might have caught Cook when Cook was on 200+ at Brisbane, but Cook was given not out. Harris was given out LBW when he might have nicked it at Adelaide, the first of his two golden ducks. Then there was Bell's decision. A decision which was definitely wrong was Hussey's not out, also at Brisbane, when he was LBW, but technology didn't feature in that one. Interestingly, that decision was the only one which might have affected the outcome of the match. I would take away the players' right to review decisions and have the third umpire review all decisions. If there's conclusive evidence of a mistake, the third umpire would advise the field umpires. Simple, and would keep the power where it belongs.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 5, 2011, 15:08 GMT)

@Marcio; Remember - Australia to win at Sydney? 2/1 ? You lost your bet.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (January 5, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

This match is probably now safe for England. it is quite likely they will win it. Another 80-100 runs prelunch and then Austalia will have to dig deep. For Australia to in it, theuy must bowl out England for 20 more, rack up 400 + very quickly, and then hope that Beer and Smith grows up very fast. I personally do not see it. There are no easy runs from the likes of Tremlett, and Anderson has had the rule over the batting alll year. Cautiously one might put the champagne near the ice bucket,if not actually in it. Well played England!!!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 12:56 GMT)

well i'm confused now. if the logic behind referrals is to eliminate umpiring mistakes, how did ian bell survive that obvious dismissal that so influenced the tide ?. is cricket going the way of soccer (football) with fancy professional dives and all, using the new rules to manipulate the contest ?. oh adam gilchrist, come back and instill some dignity into these players. it's a GAME. ian bell will feel hollow long after he retires. in the meantime, more and more fans will become disillusioned. i already am.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 5, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

Cook needs 209 more runs to pass Bradman. So Australia need to set a target of a lot more than that. England are quite simply batting too well and clearly don't care about Cook breaking Bradman's record. Selfish! They care more about winning the Ashes than about personal glory!

Posted by Point4 on (January 5, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

This is going to be the 3rd innings defeat for Australia..mark my words..what a slump!!!but eng would do well to remember that Aus are no longer the best and continue their ascent...

Posted by Navin84 on (January 5, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

Looks like England would have another innings victory which we be sad for Cook who would not be able to add to his tally of runs in the series, nevertheless, well played. New captain with a Beer, same result. Ausies have become like what happened to WI..they lost at home which triggered a land slide for 15 years and still running...

Posted by ell_bee on (January 5, 2011, 10:07 GMT)

As cricket lovers,we Aussies have been privileged to watch Cook this ashes series. If only we had a player who could mirror his determination to succeed. Broadcasting brickbat of the day goes to Mark Taylor who suggested that Australia was" half a batsman short". Guess we have been watching different games this summer with both Clarke and Ponting wasting valuable oxygen in the middle. Maybe the combination of that two was the half a batman he was talking about. As for our bowling - its woeful with standout Hilfenhaus getting a renewed contract would be a joke.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

It is all very well to say that umpire Aleem Dar had the opportunity to stick with his original decision to give Bell out when he was on 67, but if, as Tony Greig suggested, the message he would have had from the tv umpire was that there was no tv evidence that he had snicked the ball, HE WAS OBLIGED BY THE RULES OF THE GAME, TO CHANGE HIS DECISION TO 'NOT OUT' AS IT MEANT THERE WAS DOUBT, AND THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT HAS TO GO TO THE BATSMAN. Snicko hadn't come into the picture at this stage, and the umpire could only go on the evidence before him.....he was right.

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

On the basis of this series I don't see how Mitchell Johnson can keep his place in the Australian Test side. There are days, like in Perth, when he can blow the opposition away but they are scattered all to scarcely amongst all the days when he is truly awful, like today. He reminded me today of Devon Malcolm, quick but in no way in control of it. He makes me laugh in a way. His run up is so slow, controlled and measured you expect him to land it on the spot every time but he always seems to just dig it in half way down the track and a yard outside off stump! The Australian bowling today was unrecognisable from what you would have expected from McGrath, Kasprowicz, Gillespie and Stuart Clark, they always seemed to be nagging around off stump, forcing errors. Today I lost count of the amount of gift balls Alistair Cook tucked off his pads. No wonder Clarke couldn't stem the flow of runs, you cant set fields when 3 balls are on middle stump and 3 are a yard outside off.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

A great day for both Cook and Bell and great for us long suffering English cricket fans who been under the thumb of the fantasic Aussie teams of the past. Prior did his part but sadly it looks as if Collingwood has played his last test, time for Morgan to earn his stipes. Australia will have to play their hearts out to even manage a draw this time.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (January 5, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

Well, yesterday I did have my doubts as to whether England indeed could find the guts/inspiration to bat Australia out of the match. It seems as if they did! Another 50+ runs tomorrow and the sheer weight could well crush Australias batters. I hope Cook enjoys his series: although he may well have several great series in the future, I doubt he will make 750+ runs in one too many times.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 8:07 GMT)

dar got it right the first time and the third umpire gave him the ok to give it out. there is something wrong there. with that bell decision. also that didn't look was hughes with the bounced catch

Posted by landl47 on (January 5, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

That's the series decided. England will come out and bat for as long as they can tomorrow and then the Aussies will have to bat for at least 4 sessions, maybe 5, to save the game. There is no way Australia can score enough runs fast enough to put any pressure on England. The only question is whether the series ends 2-1 or 3-1. Personally, I'd be happy, as I said before the series started, to see England one-up after the last test, but 3-1 would be a fair reflection of play. Alastair Cook's achievement in scoring 766 runs in the series is all the more amazing when you think that he only had one innings in two of the tests, one so far in this one, and was not out in the second innings in Brisbane. Bell and Prior also played very well and before anyone criticizes Bell, if Hughes can claim a catch that he didn't take, Bell's entitled to ask for a review of a ball that he may have touched. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. A great day for England. Marcio- do you give up yet?

Posted by Herbet on (January 5, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

I dont know what to make of this anymore! Are England and Alistair Cook this good or are Australia just staggeringly bad? I'm inclined to think that Cook is a pretty tidy player and that Australia's bowlers are very poor! Johnson reminds me of the sort of quick bowler who could play for a Carribean Island side. He's fast, and when he gets it on target he is dangerous but he is horribly inaccurate and just gifts you runs. Hilfenhaus and Siddle have looked more like English seamers than the English ones, unable to look threatening in unhelpful conditions. The England team has matured nicely under Flower and are making the most of what they have. The next step is for Collingwood to be dropped, Bell and Prior bumped up a spot and Broad to come back in at 7. PS if Bell had walked or been given we still would have won the Ashes.

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (January 5, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

England again the much better team. Its gonna take a massive effort for Australia to get a draw... which will end in a home series loss :)

Posted by Aussasinator on (January 5, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

England is emerging a very formidable Test side. We can say a temporary bye bye to Australian Test cricket. They'll need a couple of years to rebuild and pose a challenge to say, Sri Lanka.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 5, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

Superb from England. Well done Cook and especially Bell. Unfortunately, I have to go to work now.

Posted by ubl2729 on (January 5, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

england allready win the ausses,what poor perfomamance from aus hole series one time aus debute players have much confidence vs any team in the world but these days this confedence leval was not in the new players becouse of elder player perfomance not good.(ponting,katich,clarke).there is a lot differance between shane warne and smith.pls took white, d hussy,klinger etc in remaining days for test

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 5, 2011, 7:10 GMT)

A great highly professional performance from England. It remains to be seen how many they'll score; but a lead of 250 should be enough to ensure they don't bat again. This will be a well deserved victory and all but the most partisan should agree that Australia have been thoroughly outplayed by this England side. As an Englishman I'm very proud of the achievement and also a little sad that we have now seen the end of a cricketing dynasty. Australia (more tha any other country) has raised the test cricket bar. They batted well, bowled superbly thanks to Warne/McGrath & exhibited a ruthless professionalism...but that's in the PAST! Like many teams before them they have to re-group and rebuild. I'm sure they'll be back - maybe stronger than ever! While we wait; I'm going to savour Englands Ashes performance & although victory in this test is not quite assured - I would anticipate a 3-1 series win. Good luck to future team Australia and with the rebuilding process ahead! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by DonkieHoed on (January 5, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

Well done to England and especially Cook. Not the greatest bowling challenge to face down, but the runs are on the board and noone got 189.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (January 5, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

I'm Aussie, and there's no controversy for me. The umpires have had so many decisions corrected by technology this series, and this was only about the second one or so that the technology might have cause the wrong decision. This series more than any other has convinced me it really does work. With umpires only, you probably get about 80 to 90% of decisions right; with the review system that number jumps to probably 95% to 98%. How India can ignore that and would rather play under the more flawed umpire only system, is ridiculous.

The ICC should make it compulsory.

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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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