Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day

Missed chances cost England ground

The Report by David Hopps at Adelaide Oval

December 5, 2013

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Australia 5 for 273 (Rogers 72, Bailey 53, Watson 51) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kimber: A day of mistakes

Adelaide's first transportable Test pitch, as far as batsmen were concerned, promised to be more check-in than drop-in. England, after fielding two spinners and losing an influential toss, had no option but to hang in there against an Australian side sensing the chance to build an unassailable lead. By the end of an engrossing first day, they had achieved their primary goal, but it was a close-run thing.

George Bailey's perma smile was becoming broader by the minute in the final session after registering his first Test fifty and Michael Clarke, although playing well within himself, a captain bearing his duties seriously, possessed the sort of Adelaide batting record - an average of more than 100 - to bring trepidation. The second new ball was doing nothing.

Then Stuart Broad, with the admirably combative attitude of a bowler always willing to shake things up, fired in a bouncer and Graeme Swann pulled off a thrilling catch at square leg. Bailey, who had attacked the spinners, Monty Panesar in particular, with verve, departed for 53, the third Australian after Shane Watson and Chris Rogers to make a half-century but not take full advantage. This second Test is engrossingly poised.

England could have been relishing unexpected riches if they had not dropped three catches in the final session, the most criminal a simple miss at backward point when Brad Haddin, on 5, cut Panesar: the culprit, Michael Carberry, has been a strange mixture in the field of brilliance and fallibility in his brief England career.

There were other blemishes with the old ball, far tougher chances both. Panesar spilled a quick return catch from Bailey, on 10; Joe Root sprang to his right at short midwicket, with Clarke on 18, but a demanding chance off Swann went to ground.

For all that, England, thumped by 381 runs in the first Test at the Gabba had cause for satisfaction. After the intimidating atmosphere of Brisbane, the challenge in Adelaide was a markedly different one. Expectations of a sedate batting surface persuaded them to select two spinners in a Test in Australia for the first time for 23 years, since Phil Tufnell and Eddie Hemmings combined in Sydney. There was enough grip in the surface to justify the gamble. This pitch is strikingly dry and, even if it will not disintegrate, it will dust up. They will hope for dividends later in the match.

The new-look Adelaide Oval - now a multi-sport stadium with AFL the dominant partner - has been largely commended. Even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists conceded that, as stadiums go, it possesses more style than most. The protected Moreton Bay figs still stand behind the old scoreboard at one end of the ground and you can even still see the cathedral if you are seated in the right place.

England's attention, though, rested exclusively on 22 yards of South Australian soil. Somehow, in a Test that looked bound to be a long haul, they had to find a way to take 20 wickets. As showers strafed the ground in the morning, there was little superficially to revive memories of how Swann and Panesar had toiled so successfully in tandem a year ago as England recovered from 1-0 down in India to win the series, but they both have a wicket to their name.

James Anderson claims the catch to remove Shane Watson, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day, December, 5, 2013
James Anderson's return catch off Shane Watson's bat started a mini-collapse © PA Photos

Panesar, after a mediocre, not to say troubled season, did as much as could reasonably be expected. He bowled with a blustery wind coming over his left shoulder and, after a few short ones initially, produced an admirable holding operation in the afternoon. His post-tea spell was shoddy as Bailey met him adventurously, twice lofting him straight for six.

The middle session finished with England on a high they could barely have foreseen as Watson and Rogers fell in successive overs and Steve Smith succumbed to the last ball before tea, comprehensively bowled as Panesar straightened one; three wickets lost for 19 in 39 balls.

Rogers and Watson had ambitions on building something more unassailable. But Watson fell for 51 as James Anderson made one cut back slightly and responded lithely to a half-hearted drive with a low return catch. Rogers followed for 72 in the next over, Swann making one turn to have him caught at the wicket - the seventh time Swann's offspin has dismissed him in as many Tests.

Consolidation could be Rogers' middle name. He freely admitted ahead of the Test that his position would be under review if he failed in Adelaide, and although he made his first Test fifty in Australia, he would be frustrated at not making full use of a golden opportunity. He also needed one moment of good fortune on 27 when he marginally survived an England review for lbw as Panesar turned one back into his pads. As for Watson, the times in Test cricket that he has not taking full toll after a promising start are innumerable.

England also made good use of a rain-disrupted morning - restricted to 14.2 overs as squally showers forced three stoppages - by dismissing David Warner, who had looked in the mood to strut his stuff before he self-destructed against Broad, toe-ending him to Carberry at backward point. It was an intemperate moment, part of Warner's batting DNA and accepted with relief by England, who must have been fearing a repeat of his better than a run-a-ball hundred made on this ground against South Africa a year ago.

Panesar's inclusion meant that England gave Ben Stokes a Test debut, his cap awarded by the former England captain, Andrew Strauss, before start of play. It was a risk for England to field Stokes, the rumbustious Durham allrounder, as high as No. 6, and rely on him to fulfil the third seamer role; promising as he is, his form for England in one-day cricket and tour matches has so far been unremarkable.

Stokes was solid enough in his first day in Test cricket, but it was a difficult ask and Rogers, who had been cagey against the seamers, unsightly even against the spinners, was at his most confident against him as he brought his favourite square drive into play

This was a pitch which did not give its favours easily to the quicks, the sort of pitch upon which England have become attuned, the sort of pitch they might well have chosen upon which to try to get back into the series. Shane Warne suggested on Channel 9 before start of play that England had ordered extra chest pads and arm guards to combat the short-pitched menace of pace of Johnson. If that is so, on the evidence of the first day, many of them will remain unpacked until Perth

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JethroTell on (December 6, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

After 1st days play, England could have but did not hold the advantage. This morning, the dropped catches are haunting England, as Australia forges to an score that will mean they cannot lose, only draw or win. The English bowlers look 2nd rate outside of the swing conditions and doctored pitches in their homeland, especially Anderson. So far in the 3 innings this ashes, he has only 3 wickets, and holds no fear for the Aussie batsmen with 125km pace and no swing. 5/389 at lunch with more pain for the English this afternoon. Clarke may get another double century and Haddin, with his 3rd 50 in 3 innings this series, is highlighting Prior's poor form with the bat. I hope the English enjoyed minding the ashes, as the urn is returning home.

Posted by Biggus on (December 6, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster:-After last night's hilarity at the Wanderers I'd be a little more circumspect about calling Australian batsmen ordinary if I were you. You know, the whole thing about people in glass houses throwing stones and all that.

Posted by cyborg on (December 6, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

this test match is awesome , has no boring segment in it

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 6, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

@ Milhouse79: We crow because we know it annoys you. No other reason really.

Posted by ImpartialExpert on (December 6, 2013, 2:04 GMT)

Looks like Aus have batted England out of the game here.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 6, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

What a great batsman Michael Clarke is, he really is a great player, he makes 100's look so easy, he does it all the time almost on demand. The best batsmen on either side by a country mile.

Haddin is such a warrior, scores runs when he is most needed, i love his bravery, he can make a score or hit out first ball, what a legend, always gives it his all.

Up, up Aussie!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 6, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

@ScottStevo on (December 5, 2013, 12:43 GMT), the point was that Watson gets criticised having made 51 while Bailey gets praised having made 53 when Bailey should have been out much earlier.

Posted by brisCricFan on (December 6, 2013, 0:11 GMT)

I think Australia would be slightly disappointed in seeing all but Smith get a start and no big innings... Warner out to an injudicious shot, Watson likewise... Swann at least played a part in Rogers' dismissal and Smith got a ripper from Monty when he was trying to shut up shop coming to tea.

Who is on top, scorebook would probably say pretty even, but Australia would be thinking we were in a worse position after Day1 at the Gabba and look at how we came through... England must be thinking the same, we had them in a better position after Day 1 and managed to lose. Never underestimate the psychology of that recent loss... Add to that that England would have known they needed to field well, and those missed chances will also weigh heavily on the team psyche.

I said a draw most likely before the start of play... watching this unfold, I think a result is very probable. But for whom?

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (December 5, 2013, 23:59 GMT)

I would rate the test as pretty even with Australia ahead, if England skittle em in the morning (a big if given the strong tail) then I wouldhave England in front, it could go either way.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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