Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day December 8, 2013

Root fights but Australia tighten grip

179

England 172 and 6 for 247 (Root 87, Pietersen 53, Prior 31*, Broad 22*) need another 284 runs to beat Australia 9 for 570 dec and 3 for 132 dec
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

As Joe Root led a stubborn England rearguard action in a third Test that seems destined to fall Australia's way by another convincing margin, perhaps the name of Faf du Plessis occasionally sustained him. It was du Plessis who stonewalled for seven-and-a-half hours on this ground a year ago as South Africa escaped with a draw.

The task for Root was even more extreme: he would have had to bat for 12 hours, plus overtime, and find England batsmen to stay with him to stave off an inevitable defeat - and there had been little sense at the start of his innings that an image of Faf du Plessis was pinned to every England kit bag.

Ultimately, Root managed only four and a half hours and, dismissed for 87, did not even have a hundred to sustain him. But for England, even if they go 2-0 down in Adelaide, the resistance was far from futile. Root reminded England that their pressing priority in this Ashes series is to see off Mitchell Johnson's short, violent spells, to make him so weary that his performance levels drop, and to turn the series into 11-a-side again. Only by doing that will they assemble a coherent response to an Australian side rediscovering its self-belief.

They will tell themselves they began to achieve that that by taking the Test into a fifth day, with four wickets still intact (albeit, against the second new ball, looking about as secure as a wobbling coconut), although the draining effect might have been lost on Stuart Broad, whose shining countenance at the crease was enough for Johnson to stroke his melodramatic moustache with anticipation and crank it up above 145kph again. Broad survived and the day ended heatedly with Johnson sledging and Broad tapping the side of his helmet to communicate that he was a bit of a nutter.

Root's departure, nine overs into the final session, came in a sedater phase of the fourth day and denied the young Yorkshireman what would have been a meritorious hundred. Nathan Lyon, the offspinner, had a day to forget, persistently failing to get the ball across the right-hander. If the line into the pads was tactical, it is hard to understand why. The same line was plugged with the ball that dismissed Root, but he got an inside edge onto his thigh as he played leg side and Brad Haddin scooped up a catch that found its way to the off side of the stumps.

England awoke to headlines proclaiming that they were so spooked by Johnson that another 5-0 whitewash could be on the cards. When Michael Clarke declared Australia's innings 15 minutes before play began, with a lead of 530, it was time for an England captain to stand up and be counted. Alastair Cook did just that - and immediately it all went horribly awry.

Cook's decision to hook the third ball he faced from Johnson - a head-high bouncer designed to clear sleep from the eyes - was appropriate enough for a few hard-wired batsmen of yore who believed in fighting fire with fire, the former Australian captain Ian Chappell among them, but others looked on in disbelief as Cook's top edge was efficiently held by Ryan Harris, anticipating well and moving purposefully, at fine leg.

Johnson's 7 for 40 on a sunlit Adelaide Saturday had been the best return by an Ashes fast bowler in Adelaide, a ground where batsmen have normally dominated and a fast bowler's boots fill with blood. The shock still lingered on Sunday morning for England's travelling band of supporters, many of whom were still staring blankly at their breakfast burgers when they heard that their captain had been dismissed a second time.

Cook is a good hooker, and it was Cook whose example three years ago was the prime source of England's Ashes win in Australia. But what was certain was that as an attempt to stifle Johnson's terror, his response had failed in its execution. To add to England's misery, Michael Carberry followed in similar fashion in the 12th over when he whipped a short ball from Peter Siddle off his hip and this time picked out Lyon, another decent catch, at long leg.

Kevin Pietersen stood firm alongside Root for 35.3 overs, both making half-centuries in a partnership of 111 on a dry and increasingly lifeless pitch. It was England's most considered batting of the series, but the pair could not see through the afternoon session, Siddle exposing Pietersen's searching defensive shot and bowling him off an inside edge.

Pietersen, dismissed by Siddle for the ninth time, had until then borne his responsibilities seriously as he often does in an innings immediately following condemnation for recklessness. Australia goaded him with two short midwickets again, but this time there was no attempt to take up the challenge. Only when met with Steve Smith's legspin did he allow himself a strut or two, depositing a full toss straight for six.

Root's most impressive period came in Johnson's third spell, post lunch. He eschewed the hook, left well and when he was compromised by a straight, short one, punched it dead in front of his feet with his glove. Johnson snarled at a grin which was beginning to irritate him. He played with great selectivity against an Australian attack not quite at its best. Unlike his captain, he settled in cautiously, five runs from 34 balls, before a full toss from Lyon drew him into a productive rhythm that he never relinquished. His place at No.3, in preference to Ian Bell, looked increasingly appropriate for both parties: both look settled where they are.

Bell, so impressive in the first innings against the ferocity of Johnson, succumbed to a low full toss from Smith. It was not the first time in these back-to-back Ashes series that Smith has lulled Bell into something ill advised, this time an on-drive which was efficiently taken by Johnson at mid-on. Every other England batsman lies awake at night thinking about the violence of Johnson's bouncer and Bell is troubled by a vision which could easily be adopted as a child's bedtime story.

The series has borne little resemblance to the statistics which preceded it: England unbeaten in 13 Tests, Australia with seven defeats in nine. England have talked sternly of a need to make 400-plus totals again but they was grateful to pass 200 for the first time in four attempts, a minor marking point achieved when Ben Stokes swept and off drove Lyon for boundaries in the same over. Stokes is a rumbustious hitter, but it was not the position to prove it. He resisted for two hours for 28, surviving an Australian assault against a cumbersome front pad.

There was a strong argument for Clarke to rest his fast bowlers ahead of the second new ball, but he was impatient to get the match won. It was Harris who made the new-ball breakthrough, Stokes pushing at one to fall at second slip, but Johnson missed the off stumps of Matt Prior and Broad by a whisker. Prior, who was on 18 when he braced himself for a death rattle that never came, will tell himself it might be the personal turning point he needs.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jb633 on December 8, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Aussies on both their wins and the regaining of the Ashes. For guys like Johnson he has showed great courage to come back from poor form, ridicule and various injuries. His mental strength must be admired. As an England fan I must say we need a change of direction. The current system and style of cricket has decayed and it is really blowing up in our faces now. The method of batting is simply a recipe for disaster and it is no coincidence that we have failed to pass 400 in 19 innings. We invite all the pressure on as we score too slowly and we pretty much wait for a ball with our name on it. The mental state of our batsmen mean that anything other than a 5-0 victory for Aus will amaze me. I think Flower has run out of ideas and we need to change things around and possibly remove some of the big names in the dressing room. There is only so long you can keep failing with the bat.

  • Biggus on December 9, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @JG2704:- Given that, as @dunger.bob (I think) tried to explain, the London Olympics and the 2015 WC down here forced us to adopt a schedule that we wouldn't normally just so we could comply with the requirements of the FTP to suggest that this series is somehow jeopardizing our tour obligations elsewhere is fallacious in the extreme. I think the last two thirds of my previous post is about as close an explanation as I can guess.

  • JG2704 on December 9, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @ Biggus on (December 9, 2013, 4:12 GMT) Do you know what his points are exactly? Does he want more shorter format stuff? Surely there's enough shorter format internationals for the neutrals to enjoy as it is? I think during this test alone there has been another test , a couple of ODI and a T20 international elsewhere. Surely there's enough test cricket and enough shorter format cricket to please all. The other points are that (as I've already said) even though Eng have won the last 3 Ashes series , all 3 were competitive. This one isn't but what sane person could have seen that. And also , the Ashes are still bringing the fans in and therefore the revenue to the respective boards. If these games were being played in empty stadiums then maybe the comms would have more merrit

  • Shaggy076 on December 9, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge; I would have thought Swann has contributed significantly towards those 200 run deficits. Lyon averaging a very respectable 34 (better than Swanns when you annihilated us last time round) on Australian soil compared to Swann's 99.25. I know which one I would prefer. This wicket was very tough to get wickets, just lucky the English great bats led by who you claim "the impenetrable" Cook and the "worlds best keeper batsman" gave up there wickets very easily.

  • Biggus on December 9, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:-Ashes boring and irrelevant eh? Well, once again I'll have to disagree. England have had the wood on us lately and just beat us 3-0. We're now up 2-0, and I find that interesting, most certainly NOT boring and irrelevant. Your jealousy is showing for all to see. You just can't handle the fact that EVERYBODY seems to be interested in the Ashes, including those who make a special effort to come here and say they're not. Unless India is the center of each and every cricket conversation you're simply not happy. I truly feel sorry for you, to be so insecure and needing constant affirmation of your perceived importance. If India wants to be liked and appreciated it should try the carrot and not the stick, to make friends rather than bully everyone else.

  • DaveDhaliwal on December 9, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    Cant wait to see aus going 2-0 up ! I use to hate oz's at steve waugh time but now started feeling that only oz's can play best cricket sledging , fast bowling and everythng :)

  • Mervo on December 9, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Well done Australia. Order is restored.

  • jmcilhinney on December 9, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    It's impossible to say whether England would have batted better in the first innings with less scoreboard pressure on them (they didn't in Brisbane) but there's no doubt that poor catching has cost them dearly here. I don't really count Root's drop of Clarke as that was a very difficult chance but if Carberry had caught Haddin then Australia would have been in a similar position to England's now. There would have been no Haddin century or 200 partnership with Clarke. If Panesar had caught Bailey too then Australia could have been in real trouble. Even if England had still gone on to lose, it would not have been as heavy a loss as it will be now and their confidence would not have been dented so severely. Poor catching cost them dearly against SA a little while back and it has here too. With the batting starting to look at least a bit better, I still think that they can get back into the series, although it will be tough, but they simply must hold all their chances.

  • on December 9, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    match could have finished yesterday if Australia forced English bat again (follow on).....poor captaincy.

  • on December 9, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    What happened to the great england team who were suppose to be exceptional players of fast and swing bowling? they truely are exposed, a real reality check. They did however perform better then the last test never the less, the defeat is certain.

  • jb633 on December 8, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Aussies on both their wins and the regaining of the Ashes. For guys like Johnson he has showed great courage to come back from poor form, ridicule and various injuries. His mental strength must be admired. As an England fan I must say we need a change of direction. The current system and style of cricket has decayed and it is really blowing up in our faces now. The method of batting is simply a recipe for disaster and it is no coincidence that we have failed to pass 400 in 19 innings. We invite all the pressure on as we score too slowly and we pretty much wait for a ball with our name on it. The mental state of our batsmen mean that anything other than a 5-0 victory for Aus will amaze me. I think Flower has run out of ideas and we need to change things around and possibly remove some of the big names in the dressing room. There is only so long you can keep failing with the bat.

  • Biggus on December 9, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @JG2704:- Given that, as @dunger.bob (I think) tried to explain, the London Olympics and the 2015 WC down here forced us to adopt a schedule that we wouldn't normally just so we could comply with the requirements of the FTP to suggest that this series is somehow jeopardizing our tour obligations elsewhere is fallacious in the extreme. I think the last two thirds of my previous post is about as close an explanation as I can guess.

  • JG2704 on December 9, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @ Biggus on (December 9, 2013, 4:12 GMT) Do you know what his points are exactly? Does he want more shorter format stuff? Surely there's enough shorter format internationals for the neutrals to enjoy as it is? I think during this test alone there has been another test , a couple of ODI and a T20 international elsewhere. Surely there's enough test cricket and enough shorter format cricket to please all. The other points are that (as I've already said) even though Eng have won the last 3 Ashes series , all 3 were competitive. This one isn't but what sane person could have seen that. And also , the Ashes are still bringing the fans in and therefore the revenue to the respective boards. If these games were being played in empty stadiums then maybe the comms would have more merrit

  • Shaggy076 on December 9, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge; I would have thought Swann has contributed significantly towards those 200 run deficits. Lyon averaging a very respectable 34 (better than Swanns when you annihilated us last time round) on Australian soil compared to Swann's 99.25. I know which one I would prefer. This wicket was very tough to get wickets, just lucky the English great bats led by who you claim "the impenetrable" Cook and the "worlds best keeper batsman" gave up there wickets very easily.

  • Biggus on December 9, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:-Ashes boring and irrelevant eh? Well, once again I'll have to disagree. England have had the wood on us lately and just beat us 3-0. We're now up 2-0, and I find that interesting, most certainly NOT boring and irrelevant. Your jealousy is showing for all to see. You just can't handle the fact that EVERYBODY seems to be interested in the Ashes, including those who make a special effort to come here and say they're not. Unless India is the center of each and every cricket conversation you're simply not happy. I truly feel sorry for you, to be so insecure and needing constant affirmation of your perceived importance. If India wants to be liked and appreciated it should try the carrot and not the stick, to make friends rather than bully everyone else.

  • DaveDhaliwal on December 9, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    Cant wait to see aus going 2-0 up ! I use to hate oz's at steve waugh time but now started feeling that only oz's can play best cricket sledging , fast bowling and everythng :)

  • Mervo on December 9, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Well done Australia. Order is restored.

  • jmcilhinney on December 9, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    It's impossible to say whether England would have batted better in the first innings with less scoreboard pressure on them (they didn't in Brisbane) but there's no doubt that poor catching has cost them dearly here. I don't really count Root's drop of Clarke as that was a very difficult chance but if Carberry had caught Haddin then Australia would have been in a similar position to England's now. There would have been no Haddin century or 200 partnership with Clarke. If Panesar had caught Bailey too then Australia could have been in real trouble. Even if England had still gone on to lose, it would not have been as heavy a loss as it will be now and their confidence would not have been dented so severely. Poor catching cost them dearly against SA a little while back and it has here too. With the batting starting to look at least a bit better, I still think that they can get back into the series, although it will be tough, but they simply must hold all their chances.

  • on December 9, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    match could have finished yesterday if Australia forced English bat again (follow on).....poor captaincy.

  • on December 9, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    What happened to the great england team who were suppose to be exceptional players of fast and swing bowling? they truely are exposed, a real reality check. They did however perform better then the last test never the less, the defeat is certain.

  • on December 8, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    This deck is as flat as they come which is masking the terrible state of England's batting. They have not shown fight, they have shown terrible shot selection when the chips are down. Perth is a different world to Adelaide and again I fear the English batting will not make 200 in either innings. Having said all that, Johnson and Haddin have been the real difference between the two teams.

  • kensohatter on December 8, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Ahhh England. God bless you. Your cricket team has made my summer. I truly thought I was in for a depressing summer of world class performances from Anderson, Cook, Prior, Swann and Bell yet continue to be suprised by the ease with which our second string bowling attack cuts through your best 11. Please bear in mind if we had Pattison, Starc and Cummings fit Johnson probably would never have got a start. I will say this that Joe Root kid goes from strength to strength

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 8, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    Today just showed what an ordinary bowler Lyon is. When England don't smack his seam-up long hops, which can be some absolute pies, to the fielders, Lyon isn't able to extract much turn, other than those that hit the seam of course. He cannot even possibly be compared to Swann, who has had to deal with the blunt end of first innings defecits over 200. England can't wait for normal Ashes service to be resumed soon.

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    @unbiased_referee - Impressive use of words , butI'm actually wondering exactly what your argument is? Are you saying there should be more ODIsT20s and that Eng/Aus should play more ODIs/T20s (which their fans are less interested in) so that some non paying non English fans who contribute nothing but opinions can enjoy it? Are you saying that because England/Aus are playing too much test cricket vs each other that there isn't room in the calendar for other nations to enjoy test cricket? Re the educated choice rather than an emotional one - I'm struggling to grasp what you're referring to. If you could let us all know what you think should happen to world cricket please let us know?

  • Chris_P on December 8, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    A gritty effort by Root but this is still quite a decent track to bat on, no pace, no deviation, slow spin & all reports about day 4 & 5 batting appears flat. If ever you ere going to grit your way out of a batting slump, this is the sort of pitch to do it in. Still, this is why we enjoy test cricket AND Ashes contests. I don't think I have read any Aussie or English fans complaining about tests?

  • on December 8, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney .... The ball didn't even come out of his hand correctly!!!

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 8, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    @ unbiased_referee on (December 8, 2013, 18:43 GMT) without the ashes there would be no brave new world, well there maybe..... but without cricket.

  • sharadgargconnect on December 8, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    i think aussie team will once again regain no1 test spot but their bowling needs to show signs of 2000-2007. only jhonson cannot take australia to no1 in tests because safrica is in competition. i think australia is no1 odi team. they just need to take odi seriously now. The confidence in tests will transform into odis. They should play allrounders in odis and their world cup team is ready. They should drop hughes, mckay and doherty from odi plans. Australia odi team should be: 1.Warner 2.Clarke 3.Bailey 4.Watson 5.Faulkner 6.Finch 7.Maxwell 8.McDonald 9.Butterworth 10.Jhonson 11.Starc

  • wellrounded87 on December 8, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    The Idea that Cook needs to be dropped is insane. He played a good innings in Brisbane before a storm interval interrupted his concentration and it wasn't so long ago he was piling on runs in India. One bad test isn't enough for selection, nor is one bad series.

    As an aussie fan i'm glad that Bresnan and Compton haven't been picked yet. Bressie will probably play in Perth Compton might never make the team again. Which i think is a very dumb move from England.

  • pat_one_back on December 8, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    Johnson may have missed Broads stumps by a whisker but he didn't miss the opportunity to let Broad know his footwork suggested he had a pair of whiskers, Broad wasn't sure what to make of "meows" and paw licking as Johnson walked back to his mark, surely just harmless fun from a bowler well on top but Broad made it look ugly approaching Johnson after stumps, bails off means ceasefire, shoo puss. Lookout for the Gatorade guys or even a playful James Faulkner sneaking out saucers of milk tomorrow!

  • Meety on December 8, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    @JG2704 on (December 8, 2013, 17:44 GMT) - I probably should of stated from tourists - as the WI reeked havoc thru the 80s. I put the 3rd Day "ahead" of the MCG 98 by Oz anyway for pitch factors (btw imo - good bowling is a factor in any sub-par batting performance as a given). Oz 98 was 1st morning in cloudy skies - sub par & bitterly dissappointing considering the Ashes was still alive at that point, but versus a 3rd day Adelaide pitch, not as bad. I didn't include the Gabba as it would of been the first time in a couple of years, that England would of played on a bouncy & fast strip.

  • KARNAWAT33 on December 8, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Johnson almost got Prior and Broad and it was a pity that the match didn't finish today. Hardly matters though, the game will be over in 15 overs' time tomorrow.

    Now it's time to ponder on the selection for the Perth Test; is Ryno fit enough to get past this humongous hurdle, doubt it. Can't afford complacency here with England's backs to the wall. But if he is (hopefully) then bringing in Faulkner for Lyon would be perfect.

    As far as England go. They should give Gary Ballance and Boyd Rankin a chance to play @ Perth. These are the sides I expect for Perth:

    AUSTRALIA - Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Bailey, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Siddle and Harris.

    England - Cook, Carberry, Root, KP, Bell, Ballance, Prior, Broad, Stokes, Anderson and Rankin.

  • unbiased_referee on December 8, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    @Biggus, JG2704 et al-Good sarcasm on the new emerging "world order" of Cricket; and great example of die-hard collective self-indulgence! But the fundamental issue here is how to turn this globally irrelevant overdose of bilateral waste of Cricketing talent around to the advantage of Cricket at large. ENG/AUS fans have the right to be emotional about all that happened between the two sides since 1877; but they need to come to terms with the change this new world order brings. Surely, you cannot perceive the one-sidedness of an Ashes series in real time, but you have all the recent clashes' knowledge base to analyse and make an educated choice rather than an emotional one! This brave new world is here to stay. AUS/ENG can carry on with their 150+ year old "love affair" but this will only push them into downward spiral of minority in the global perspective politically. Cricketwise, it's alraedy a wholesale disservice!!!!

  • on December 8, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    How to combat Johnson? Generally he wont swing many into the righties and not too many will hit their stumps so they should leave as far as possible on length especially in Perth.Lefties need to play his angle back in to them but can also leave on length in Perth and hope the odd one leaving them isnt nicked.Courage is needed against the short ones and ultimately each batsmen has to find ways to combat him in their preferred fashion.Rotation of strike,right-left batting combos,changing the batting order,etc are also possibilities.The problem is Mitch's extreme pace makes batsmen play at deliveries they would not normally and he poses a physical threat.Also he is difficult to pick up out of the hand and generates angles most left handers are not used to.He is possibly the quickest left armer in history bar Schultz in 1993 in Sri Lanka before his knee ops.Exciting!

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    @jackiethepen on (December 8, 2013, 9:33 GMT) You could be right , but Root scored the highest individual score of the series for Eng at 3 so it would not look smart now if they changed the order around and both Root and Bell failed

    @CustomKid on (December 8, 2013, 9:43 GMT) The highway maintenance have resurfaced alot of the A38 (between Plymouth and Exeter) but alot of the backroads they've either ignored or actually made worse by sprinkling loads of chippings on them. So I'll think of the road as the A38 sort of road

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    @Meety - Would you not also include your own side's 98 vs Eng in the last Aus Ashes series in the 4th test or are you putting that down to good bowling? It has to be said Mitch looks on fire at the moment. The other problem as I mentioned before is that the momentum has totally shifted Aus way as their batsmen can play with few inhibitions knowing that they have the power in their bowling unit or Eng lack the power in their batting unit (depending on how you want to see it) to put it right. Have to say I think Clarke got his declaration spot on here , giving his bowlers enough rest but also plenty of time to bowl Eng out a 2nd time.

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 8, 2013, 9:59 GMT) Listen , If a player hasn't performed for a while then I'm all for change. I had issues with one of our batsmen who was so hopelessly out of nick in one series and hadn't done much for a while and while he has come good again recently I don't change my views that he should have been dropped back along and recalled when back in form. Also , you drop Cook and you're having to have a new captain and also who opens? Root was dropped back down the order and we have no other opener there. Prior IMO should have been dropped before this game , but if he makes a score tomorrow and looks in more confident touch then it would seem poor timing to drop him and defy the logic why they kept him for this game. Also you look at the warm up games and both batsmen and bowlers on the bench haven't done alot either. If there was someone in the wings who was impressive in the warm up games then it would be different

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    @unbiased_referee on (December 8, 2013, 9:53 GMT) I'm sure you're proud of the way you use these big words , but you say about overdoing a one sided series. So how does anyone know in advance what is going to be one sided etc? Most balanced , neutral observers wouldn't have predicted a one sided match either way and in fact one of our Sky pundits predicted 5-0 to England. What do you suggest should happen - Maybe , once a series starts to look one sided we play a few T20s or ODIs instead so we may get some competitive matches? Surely the Ashes (while it's great when other countries fans show an interest) is primarily watched by Eng/Aus fans and it's Eng/Aus fans who attend the matches so why should it matter to anyone else?

  • on December 8, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    It's hard to see anything but Australia wrap this up quickly tomorrow before lunch. I hope for England's sake that I'm proved wrong. They have to keep the Aussies out there as long as possible tomorrow as it will improve their chances at Perth should they win the toss and bat. We have to tire the Aussie bowlers out as much as possible tomorrow and make them work bloody hard on a lifeless pitch. Broad and Prior have to dispense with their natural games and blunt their attack. They've done it before when required. For Prior it is a massive personal knock as I can't see him playing at Perth unless he produces an innings of some substance. He strikes me as a man of substance and I'm sure he is thinking along the same lines, but Flower needs to lay it on the line to him and see how he responds. Forget the nonsense written about England - they just need to get stuck in. They can win at Perth and that process of winning there can start tomorrow

  • on December 8, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    At least England have shown some fight, although it won't prevent them going 2-0 down in the series. Like the position after the second Test in England, the thought must be that Australia have four fingers on the Ashes.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 8, 2013, 17:37 GMT

    @RMCroos (post on December 8, 2013, 15:06 GMT): I bet I'll be the only person to say this, but I really liked and miss Graham Thorpe. Only Jonathan Trott has looked like filling the void left by the retirement of Thorpe. Despite being of a younger generation than many here, I really don't agree with the hype surrounding faster strike rates in tests that are potentially five days anyway. Hopefully Thorpe can work wonders with certain players while he's coaching some of the youngsters/newbies.

  • on December 8, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    What were the ECB thinking ? Allowing Australia to play back to back ashes with the last of the two series to be played in Australian conditions. They could have kept the ashes for another two years and now with this money minded decision, will have to give up the urn. Feel extremely sorry for English supporters.

  • VinodGupte on December 8, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    ENG does not look like a side that'll win even one game on this tour. Their fall from just a few months ago is startling.

    On a related note, does everyone agree that Anderson is a home track bully?

  • landl47 on December 8, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    It's a measure of how this series is going that 6-247 is one of the better days England has had. Unless the weather turns unplayable Australia will wrap this up tomorrow.

    However, there were one or two crumbs of comfort. Root played well and this experience will be invaluable to him later in his career. England did at least keep Australia in the field for a whole day (and the aim for the remaining batsmen should be to keep them out there for as long as possible). Prior managed to get through the first ten minutes for the first time this series and played one or two nice shots later on.

    On the other hand, Cook and Bell got out to shots they should never have played. Stokes didn't look anything like a top 6 batsman; he did show some heart, but at this stage of his career he is only a test #8. He has ability, but needs to work hard on his technique if he wants to become a genuine allrounder.

    Aus didn't look as potent yesterday, but still won the day. Good for them, bad for England.

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    @RMCroos:- Quite a few to choose from. Gower was the prettiest I've seen, all languid curves and attractive flourshes, like watching honey drip slowly off a table. A Gower century was a thing of grace and beauty. Hard to pick one, Colin Cowdrey, Boycott, Gooch had his problems Vs us but anywhere else he was a bit of a run machine. Cook's young enough to go past them all despite his issues atm. I'm bound to have forgotten someone really obvious.

  • on December 8, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    how magnificent it is about this Australian team they have set a total of 500 + in both the innigs within 3 days great i would say

  • on December 8, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    How is the weather forecast in Adelaide tomorrow? Definitely will do a world of good for Australia to go 2 - 0 into Perth.

  • RMCroos on December 8, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    who is best english batsman you have seen during all time ashes series???

  • PhillieFanatic on December 8, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    England's batsmen are certainly doing better on this pitch that is very dry and dead. Some turn but not a lot. These conditions are much closer to recent English Ashes conditions where the pitches have been generally slow and turn a bit. This pitch now, and perhaps Melbourne after day 3, will be closest to what England like. So I expect that the English bats will be harder to dislodge tomorrow, but there simply are not enough batsmen left to save this test. Then it's on to Perth where the pace and bounce will favour Australia. I don't see runs scored by England's batsmen on this dying pitch as a good predictor of how they will fare in Perth.

  • jmcilhinney on December 8, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    @Duminda Ranaweera on (December 8, 2013, 12:51 GMT), I always try to remain optimistic with regards to England's chances because, to be frank, being pessimistic just doesn't serve any useful purpose. That said, even I know that England are going to lose tomorrow unless the weather intervenes. If they were only 4 down or maybe even 5 I might hold out some hope but I'm afraid that their goose is cooked. That doesn't mean that I don't want to see them hang on for as long as possible tomorrow though. They have to improve if they are to come back into this series and now is the best time to start. If Prior, Broad and Swann can find some batting form then that can only be good for the rest of the series and the longer the Australians are in the field the better. Particularly if England do bat first in Perth then we'd want the Aussie bowlers' legs to be as weary as possible.

  • InfiniteWhite on December 8, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    Australia will win this quickly tomorrow as the refreshed Johnson and Harris will clean up the tail in no time. Now I'm wondering what Cook would do if he won the toss in Perth as a certain local legend M Hussey pointed out that the first day is the best day for bowling.

  • milepost on December 8, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    @Biggus, " No Cook hasn't become Johnson's bunny, Harris already owns him" lol very funny! @RohanMarkJay, it's allright we can take it. I think a really important point is that professional sports people play to the whistle, to the siren, to the finish line so the Aussies having a go at Anderson is professionalism in their sport, as was Anderson still being aggressive and competitive with them. We might have thought the game was done and dusted but it wasn't, they were still playing tough cricket and the game was still on. I wouldn't expect any professional side to take their foot off the gas. I remember Collingwood being asked what he learnt from the Aussies after they whitewashed them; he said "to be ruthless".

  • on December 8, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Maybe if all the England batsmen adopt Carberry's aerodynamic helmet in Perth they can post a decent total in leg byes.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 8, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    The photo of a dejected Michael Carberry standing staring at his stumps wondering what he's done and what might have been sums it all up really. Promising signs at last for some of England's batsmen, but several innings much too late and silly lapses in concentration costing them their wickets at rather random times. Couple that with a seemingly well-oiled and efficient machine that is the Aussie bowling unit, and it doesn't take too much imagination to conclude what the result is going to be. Cracking game nonetheless; I loved it yesterday when a certain media announced with a 'tone of hope' that some bad weather was potentially on its way to the area...

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    @Sugath:-No Cook hasn't become Johnson's bunny, Harris already owns him.

  • Morgan78 on December 8, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    @Cricketchat

    Much like Mitch after Brisbane talk will be on whether or not Root can back up in the following test.

    Root did a great job late on day three and through to his dismissal today.He won some fans today and will win more if he puts on a good display at the WACA.

    I only hope rain doesn't steal the chance for Aus to captalise on Mitch's day three magic.

  • RohanMarkJay on December 8, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    @dungerbob and Milepost. I wasn't disrespecting the Australian team. They are a good side. Yes when I say evenly matched I was referring on paper rather than form. Also I like the tough agressive play. No I was referring to the end after Australia needed one wicket for victory in Brisbane match already won. It did seem a bit over the top sure Anderson gives as good as he gets. I thought Clarke and the Australians were a bit too mouthy than was necessary to gain the ascendency in the match which they had already had by that point. It just seemed they were crossing a line and the unpleasant verbal that was cought on stump cam. I have no problem Aussies play the way they do this is their style. It has brought them a lot of success over the last 20 years. Also I don't know England started it when Australia are well know in generally initiating verbal proceedings as a tactic. Nothing wrong as long as it does't go overboard like in Brisbane. Also I was referring to this series, not the past.

  • Jagger on December 8, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    @ Shaggy076 - Unfair criticism. If you check the original comment from Unbiased_referee you will see that the writing was already on the wall and since my post he has confirmed it. There is an element who want to be the philosophical centre of attention for whatever reason, and the concept of Aus v Eng discounts that element. He thinks the popularity of this time-honoured contest we know as The Ashes threatens whatever he stands for. Biggus and I think it is an issue that must be addressed, ie that he should pull his head in.

  • on December 8, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Don't write England off yet, remember Adelaide last year. Even if England could not save this match tomorrow(I believe they could still) they will do a huge favour for them for Perth both psychological and physical by keeping Aussies long time in the field. Aussies are the team loose most of the un-losable tests. ie: Melbourne 1981 against India 3rd and 4th Ashes Test in 1981 Calcutta 2001 There are numerous other times Aussies failed to chased small targets to win. Even the mighty Aussies of last decade failed in the past I would not be surprised if England managed to save or win this test. Aussie supporters please embrace the reality your batting line up is very brittle and currently riding on Clark, Warner and Haddings form, bowling is entirely Mitch when he had bit of off today England looked eased on the crease. We all know he completely turned off or not turning up to Test. So tomorrow may be the day the tide change direction.

  • Sugath on December 8, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Surely, Cook has not become Johnston's Bunny? Few interesting things for tomorrow, will Broad and Prior do what Clarke and Haddin did in Aussie First Innings. First half hour will tell it all. Poms sphere of influence has shrunk and what is evident is the sphere of concern. Any Flower better get down to old style of coaching rather than take the back seat.

  • on December 8, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    I don't know about Cook needing to clear sleep from the eyes but on the slomo of THAT hook it looked as if his eyes were closed?

  • CricketChat on December 8, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    I think Root has scaled a new height as a batsman after this innings. Credit to Eng batsmen for taking match into 5th day which didn't look a possibility after they lost both openers fairly quickly. There aren't any devils in the pitch. Would be nice if Eng can take it to post lunch session, though I doubt if they can last the 1st hour

  • Brett_in_China on December 8, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    @nutcutlet - a very noble, humble, and unnecessary apology. I am from Oz. I have been for a long time, even if not there right now. If Oz soldiers have managed to march to battle singing "We're off to see the wizard" then I doubt most of us have a problem with the epithet. Though, mind you, they may have more staggered into battle, and not been entirely sure of what they were singing. But, nonetheless, I'm sure you understand my meaning :) I sould change my name? Oz_Brett_in_China

  • pat_one_back on December 8, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Hope Aust demolish the tail when they come back a little fresher in the morning and send Eng to Perth with the sound of crashing stumps ringing in their ears. Aust are still underperforming with Watson Smith & Clarke yet to contribute so should be plenty in the tank for Perth, Siddle and Harris have bowled beautifully without much reward so they'll be keen to press hard for 3-0.

  • jmcilhinney on December 8, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @Joseph Langford on (December 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT), I'm sure Bell will get some stick for that dismissal but that's the advantage of having a leg spinner in the team. Smith obviously doesn't the same control or variation as someone like Warne but he's not a bad part-timer and he really does spin the ball. One consequence of the increased revolutions that a leggie gets is that they can get more dip than an offie and that's what did for Bell. He had to go after a full toss under the circumstances but you can see that the ball hit much lower on the bat than he intended and that was due to the dip.

  • Cricket_Man on December 8, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    I am so happy for Australia. The results in the Ashes in England did not reflect their good performance their and now they are just bulldozing the English team. Credit has to be given to Darren Lehman. He has just changed the outlook of the team. That aggression, that killer instinct, that culture of supporting each other and that determination to be the best is back in the Aussie team and I hope that stays that way. I wanted Darren Lehman to be my team's (Pakistan) coach but he chose Australia. He is such a positive man to have in the dressing room, giving confidence to his players and making them believe that they are the best. He definitely has strengthened the Aussie team mentally and that can be reflected in Mitchell Johnson's performance who previously didn't seem to have self-confidence but now has changed unbelievably. On the other hand, the England team looks very soft. I want to see Australia winning the Ashes 5-0. Good luck Australia!!

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    @Nutcutlet:-You have absolutely nothing to apologise about mate, quite the opposite, you are actually due an apology. I use OZ all the time and I quite like the connotation. I have no idea where that came from, sounds like he's had a little to much cask red.

  • Beertjie on December 8, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Agree @VivGilchrist on (December 8, 2013, 5:22 GMT) that playing Lyon at the WACA is problematic, but will be de rigeur. He may pick up wickets bowling into the doctor, but O'Keefe may have been an option. However, we'll never know under the current NSP regime. He should move to NZ where he'll qualify and may make the team and thus have a test career. Sad.

  • on December 8, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Congratulations Australia on the incredible turnaround!!

    I must admit the shots that were played by English Batsmen to give away their wickets were pathetic. Couldn't believe it when Bell got out to a Smith full toss!!

    What is also incredible is the fact that if Starc, Pattinson, Cummings or Bird were not injured, Mitchell Johnson wouldn't be playing.

  • Nutcutlet on December 8, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    @ Paul Cooper (December 8, 2013, 10:45 GMT): I apologise for not typing Australia in full & casually abbreviating it 'Oz' to indicate your great & beautiful country. This, ironically, is because I'm generally as detailed as the 1000 character-limit will allow & six precious characters are saved when using my s/hd for Australia. England doesn't have such a convenient abbreviation, but I use 'Eng' too. I have visited your country thrice & am a huge admirer of it. I've read Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore & have asked for Tom Kenneally's The Commonwealth of Thieves 4 Christmas. On the cricket shelves there are works by Jack Fingleton, Gideon Haigh, & Steve Waugh's autobiography - all read & much enjoyed. I have life-long Australian friends living & thriving in the greatest city on earth, Melbourne. Perhaps I have convinced you that I am not someone who can't grasp the English language, neither am I lacking in respect for anything that is Australian. 4 give me' Oz', pls. Season's Greetings.

  • OneEyedAussie on December 8, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Prior is out of form and the English tail is nothing special. Only rain can save England now - and if it does I will marvel again at their luck.

  • inefekt on December 8, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Lots of people here prematurely writing off England. They only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes and we've seen some possible turning points for certain players the last day or so. Prior may have come out of his slump as quickly as he went into it, KP may have realised that playing silly shots isn't the way to go while Anderson seemed to regain his pace and confidence in Australia's second innings while also remembering how to swing the ball. Johnson failed to take another wicket all day after accounting for a horribly out of form Cook early on, he seemed much less threatening and perhaps tired and jaded from all the hoopla he's created. The possibility of bad weather interrupting play tomorrow could see them escape with a draw. So England are on the ascendancy and will provide a much tougher test throughout the rest of the series. If Cook rediscovers his form then look out Australia. Oh and Bresnan always does well against the Aussies. This is far from over

  • mike_b on December 8, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    @gsingh - You don't seem to understand your cricket history.Whether you like it or not,Test cricket started with the Ashes. It was the most important development in the game.You may well say it isn't relevant anymore but that's only your opinion.To English & Aust fans we care far more about winning the Ashes than any other series.We don't care what the rest of you think about it.Don't watch the Ashes - we don't care.We don't need you to be interested in it.Also,when India manage to win a test series in Australia is the day we will pay you as much respect as the English team.Even with Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, etc you lost 4-0 last time you were here.We lost 4-0 in India with perhaps the weakest team in our history.Watch your series against SA and if you aren't interested in the Ashes then just turn it off mate.That's what I do with the India vs SA cricket. I'm just not interested in watching the Indian team who can't win away from home & are terrible against quality fast bowling.

  • on December 8, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    @Paul Cooper..I think you need to settle down. You sound way too uptight to be form Oz, Straya or whatever abbreviations people like to use or even from Australia for that matter.

  • md111 on December 8, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    What is the matter with Prior and Broad with regards to this sledging? Being so far behind in the game I don't see why they have to chirp up still. I know they are reacting to vile & nasty or good natured banter depending which legendary Aussie bowler you listen too but a bit of Atherton or even Joe Root stonewalling should be to deal with it, don't give them anything to feed off!

  • PFEL on December 8, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    I liked the way Broad played this evening, fortune favours the brave and even though he literally looked like getting out every ball, he didn't and had a few runs next to his name by the close. You need a bit of luck against good bowling, and Broad could and probably should have been out a dozen times, which will frustrate the Aussies even more. He's shown some serious fight this series with his attitude and bowling, which you can't say about the rest of this timid England side. They need to get in the face of the Australians more! Or else we'll win this series 5-zip and it will be boring series. The rest of the team needs to take a leaf out of Stuart Broad's book.

  • gsingh7 on December 8, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    @ cooper-- calm down buddy. aussie or oz does not matter one bit . what meant is the refrerence. aus is thee same land discovered by english and dutch sailors centuries ago and they used it as a colony for their purposes. history cannot be forgotten or changed.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 8, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    To all the non Ozzies out there that are aussie cricket fans.... you can say oz ozzy, aus, aussie, what ever you like because we don't care

  • on December 8, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    good to see the boys finally getting some success. have to say though that the only thing more ridiculous than some English shot selections is the reporting of this series. Clarke the greatest since Bradman? Johnson greater than Larwood? seriously on the strength of 2 tests? I've bagged Mitchell plenty in the last couple of years mainly because I liked him to start with and was disappointed with his performances and hang dog attitude. I won't change my mind until I see a few headlines reading Johnson bowls well all day without success. I still doubt his ability to put tough days in when things aren't going his way if we could splice a bit of Siddle's dna into him we truly would have something to behold. also just an observation Australia has 1 player younger than 25 and 7 older than thirty, some considerably so. sad that we may finally build a decent side only to see it retire in the next few years

  • Meety on December 8, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @ JG2704 on (December 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT) - since Oz have lost the last 3 Ashes, I have made a conscious effort not to bag England. That said though, after nearly 40yrs of watching cricket in Oz - I would say the Day 3 batting by England was in the top 3 WORST displays against pace in this country. #1 was Pakistan in about 1982 at the WACA when they were bowled out for about 60, they were scared witless, but they didnt have the same protection back then & it was the bounciest WACA ever. The #2 was WI v Oz about 1999 when McGrath got that hat trick - they were inept. England @ Adelaide Oval have been totally bullied - I just can't fathom it, shaping up to be a massacre @ WACA! If England retain the Ashes from here - it will be a greater turnaround than the one Bradman helped engineer about 70yrs ago!

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Biggus; I agree with how you wrote that, and agree he hasnt been at his best. But he has by no means been disappointing as someone else wrote.

  • AB34 on December 8, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Who is coming up.....how about Warner who is only 26, and Smith, Pattinson, Lyons is only 26, Stark, Cummings who is still a teenager, Agar....?

  • TheBigBoodha on December 8, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    A tough days work for Australia, which is what you'd expect of his track. Australia will wrap it up, but if it takes most of the day, they may be overdone for Perth.

    Looks like Stokes and Broad have been assigned the duties in regard to getting in Johnson's head. Fair enough. It's all part of the game, although Broad following Johnson back after he end of the day and yelling at him from behind as he walked off was going a bit too far IMHO. But I'm sure the umpires will keep a lid on it.

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:- We're not the boss any more, that's the BCCI, they're the heavyweights and so logically must provide the primary impetus and leadership to ensure the health of the game world wide. You guys wanted to sit in the driver's seat, but now you're there you refuse to start the engine and want us to get out and push. We're not worthy to lead remember, we never did anything for the game. Time you guys showed us how it's done.

  • on December 8, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @ Steinbrenner on (December 8, 2013, 10:25 GMT): What about Jordan Silk, he looks really promising. Also, the reason why our average is older is because we got 2 really old cricketers in Bailey and Rogers who are like around 35 or 36. That bumps it up byt about 1,2 or 3 years

  • Herath-UK on December 8, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Basically both teams have slumped in form with no outstanding batter or bowler though Jhonson brings something out of ordinary at times. Results are predictable but not going along with what biffy told in Sri Lanka ,a 5 nil whitewash. Improve the basics ,let's get the fielding sorted first. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @Shaggy076:- No one's a bigger fan of Harris than me mate but he hasn't looked at his best. Can't be superman every day I guess. I hope that's what it is and not the beginning of a problem. At least with MJ on fire he can have an average day and we can cover it. With all the hullaballoo around Mitch's admittedly incandescent form of late it's being forgotten how much Rhino is responsible for getting us where we are atm. No other player did more in England to give us the feeling that we could make a contest of it when the home leg came around. I consider him the single most important reason for our recent encouraging upward trend. Sub 22 bowling average quicks are inclined to do that sort of thing.

  • heathrf1974 on December 8, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    From an English point of view, it's good to see more fight in the second innings. Assuming the Aussies win tomorrow, the English will need to turn things around quickly and aim to draw the series.

  • on December 8, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Australia will welcome a fresh bowler in a WACA four man pace attack. Out of our bowlers, Siddle still looks quite fresh but Harris and MJ are starting to look Jaded (understandably). Bollinger's energy and Vigour would be priceless in a 3 day turnaround so I'm hoping they go past Faulkner's allround talents to include another fiery but fresh frontline quick. S'cuse me for getting ahead of myself English fans but if we win the Ashes 3-0 by the end of Perth then I'm all for Rotation to guard against injury for Melbourne and Sydney.

  • Steinbrenner on December 8, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Great day for Australia. I love that the whole team is chipping in. One thing that worries me is where is Australia's Joe Root. Listening to the shield games there doesn't seem to be much coming through. Kerry O'Keefe was saying that the average age of the Australian team is older than Englands. Its a bit of a worry.

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    @dunger.bob, I'm having success staving off the white line fever by cheering for the underdog, i.e. England! I was genuinely disappointed when Root was out. I'm glad I won't be at the WACA, that one may just get the blood boiling.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    gsingh; Both those lower teams in a very flawed system will put up a better fght in SOuth Africa than your about too. I believe one of those lower teams have beaten India at home and in India in the last 18 months - showing what a farce the rankings system is. By the way if you feel that way dont watch it and just shut up. Making the effort to comment shows that you are really interested in it.

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    @Brett_in_China, thanks mate, I actually grimaced when I wrote that but couldn't be bothered searching the dusty recesses of my brain for a synonym!

  • on December 8, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Good stuff from the Aussies. Should be able to keep Prior off strike to dismiss the remaining tail to secure a 2-0 score line. Unless Prior is able to pull off another match saving innings like the one against New Zealand. Tomorrow should be another interesting day.

  • on December 8, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    From an Australian perspective, it's never over till the fat lady sings. I learnt the hard way a long time ago that the result of a game of cricket is never decided until the last ball is bowled.

    However improbable the odds here, you never know!

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on December 8, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @JG2704, I take your point but I think the thing is that the England selectors persist with failing players. I get the argument that it is good to give players who have played well a chance to get things right but look at Prior, he's been so poor for so long. Even a score tomorrow shouldn't keep his place in the side. Cook doesn't look like the player he was.

  • wayno1971 on December 8, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Why do people bag test cricket that is obviously not being played by the countries they support, go watch something else, I'd rather watch two teams going at each other hammer and tongs than a match in the sub continent where a spinner comes on after 5 overs and the scoring rate is about 200 for the day

  • on December 8, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    England might need to request a certain humble pie as part of their dessert menu tonight

  • unbiased_referee on December 8, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @Biggus:-Recent deviations by IND from ICC Future Tour Programme, concocting IND-WI series at the expense of IND-SA one is certainly a sad incident that warrants debate. The theme perhaps being how petty geopolitics involving two Cricket Boards and the ICC should be stopped in order to honour commitments. Here, though, we are questioning technical and aesthetic merits of such an ultra-dosage of terribly one-sided series' comprising ten tests between two sides in the span of just seven months this year; and eighteen months even otherwise!! This certainly is a wholesale disservice to Test Match Cricket to say the least! Surely ENG and AUS fans enjoy it; but Cricket needs to be judiciously balanced time- and space-wise across all the continents if it has to acquire the status of a "global religion".

  • milepost on December 8, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    @ RohanMarkJay, that's a bit rich suggesting your lot are choirboys, they started the confrontation you refer to. These sides don't look too evenly matched, not from where I'm sitting anyway. Home ground advantage is that it, do we get our own personalised pitches exclusively for our batters and our own kookaburra magic ball? Nope, same grounds, pitches, umpires and balls. When you say 'evenly matched' perhaps you are referring to the paper versions rather than the form of players actually taking the field.

  • dunger.bob on December 8, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @ DJAbacus: I see that your parameters are slowly expanding there mate. Good for you. Just don't go back too far or things will start to look really ugly from your point of view. A few series, yeah, sure. We had to give you a biscuit or you might have lost interest. .. Our motor is slowly kicking back into life but we're not even close to where we want to be yet. Your blokes may manage to hold us out tomorrow. Well played if they do. It doesn't change the fact that at least we've been able to force you into a desperate rear-guard action to save the test. On a pitch that everyone, including the drovers dog, was predicting a tame bat-a-thon drawer on. .. I'm not getting carried away with momentary success but I have to admit I'm very impressed that's it's us that's chasing the 2-nil lead and not England like everyone predicted.

  • CustomKid on December 8, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Nice day in at the oval today. Tough cricket by both teams on a very flat track. Root showed some ticker but the rest didn't offer much and this pitch is a road (for JG2704 let's call it a well laid road, unlike some in your area lol). Both Prior and Broad were lucky to have the castles still standing in that last 6 over stint. It's spitting right now, but I think I'd have to run in circles to actually get wet. More rain tonight is my guess, with clearing showers in the morning. A wash out would be highway robbery by the visitors but I think the Aussies will get the job done before the day is out.

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Well , I suppose at least England have showed a little more resistance with the bat , but 2 tests late and the gulf with both bat and ball is huge right now and it could be said that Eng could do nothing but improve with the bat based on the benchmark they set on the 1st 3 inns. Still scary to think how England have been struggling on these flatter decks and the realisation that Perth will reputably have more life in the pitch. Better by England , but still nowhere near good enough

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 8, 2013, 8:43 GMT) By and large - The whole team has been out of form on the tour so why just Cook - who scored 65 in the last game and yes 65 is no huge deal but considering what the team scored. Today's dismissal was poor but by and large Cook has been getting out to very decent deliveries.

  • Brett_in_China on December 8, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @hatsforbats - Hilarious!!! I'm sure you intended the comment, "if prior had his prior form"? If not, a great one anyway - sad no one else has commented. Well, so far, anyway, I could be a few hours behind the times!!!!!!!!!

  • jackiethepen on December 8, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    This match was lost before the second innings began. It was a major blunder not to bat with Bell at 3 one that England will not recover from for a long time. Bell has done well at 5 but he would have done better at 3 as was shown in the summer when top order failures allowed him to come in early. That's the difference - 3 centuries. He could have had another in the first innings. Hopps needs to rethink his position which has become tired about Bell who has moved on but is now held back. The coach is tough but lacks sensitivity, not a good combination. Flower wasn't sensitive enough to see that Trott was about to break down, not sensitive enough to know that Bell was ready to move to 3. And not sensitive enough in 2012 to foresee the stand off with KP that cost England chances in both the Series v South Africa and the t20 World Cup. Root will struggle at Perth if Australia bowl well and we'll be rueing the decision once again.

  • Steve355 on December 8, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @gsingh7 sorry to disappoint you but cricket isn't only about India. Australian and English fans (and many neutral fans) love The Ashes. It is the most important and meaningful cricket of all for us. Certainly far more interesting than yet another boring, pointless one day series which everyone has forgotten the day after it finishes. Or - even worse - the IPL (shudder).

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 8, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    That's all good news on the rain front but who cares. can anyone tell me what the skill level and momentum meters are reading.

  • dunger.bob on December 8, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @ RohanMarkJay on (December 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT) : Actually mate, it's people hanging onto the past and dragging up the same old baloney all the time that bring the game (not to mention the the world in general) into disrepute. Mistakes are made, that's life. The best way to deal with it is to man up, admit your mistakes and move forward. .. People like you should try it sometime.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge.. on December 8, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    If it is a bit stop-start tomorrow it will only help Australia more. Thunderstorms might add a little swing and batsman have to keep making starts. It's much better for us if it is sunny so we can bat out the 90 overs with Monty top scoring.

  • oze13 on December 8, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    How does a 32 year old cricketer who was all but washed up start bowling at 95mph. He's a superman. Maybe he'll ride in next years Tour de France?

  • Talalthegreat on December 8, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    @gsingh totally wrong. India may be ranked no.2 in tests but I bet if they com to Aus now they will lose 4-0. Also in 2 series in Eng and then in Ind, India lost 6-1. India are lions at home but wet cats away. They only won Champions Trophy in England due to dry turners in English summer this year. My pred.: Saf will win ODIs 3-0 and tests 2-0

  • JG2704 on December 8, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    @unbiased_referee on (December 8, 2013, 3:49 GMT) Guessing your comments aren't based on anything but bias. As an Englishman - re the 3 previous Ashes series. The last series was 3-0 but did not reflect the difference between the 2 sides. Only one test was dominated by Eng and one of the weather affected matches was nailed on for Australia. Re the previous series , Eng won 3-1 and all tests won by thrashings but Australia won one of those and the series was 1-1 going into the 4th test. This series is not a great contest so far but it's not like every Ashes series is like this. Anyway , if you don'y like it you know what to do

  • on December 8, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    The way England batted and Australia bowl show this match is still savable. Lyon is not bowling well. MJ is not that threatening Harris and Siddle accurate but easy to handle. Aussie are tiered MC is changing them to keep them fresh. My gut feeling is England will somehow escape here. If not Cook and Bell threw away their wickets England could have chase this down.

  • PrasPunter on December 8, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    @Shaggy076, is it ? Is the weather good enough to help us tomorrow to pluck the remaining 4 ?

  • postandrail on December 8, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    For all those clinging to the hope of rain saving England here is the official Weather Bureau forecast for tomorrow. 2 - 6 mls rain in the morning then nothing. Adelaide area Cloudy. Areas of rain, easing to the chance of showers late in the morning. Isolated thunderstorms during the morning. Isolated showers redeveloping late evening. Winds southwesterly 15 to 20 km/h, increasing to 20 to 30 km/h early in the morning then tending westerly 25 to 35 km/h in the evening.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge.. on December 8, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Among some poor skill today we showed a bit of fight but to be fair to the Aussies this is a 600 pitch (as they showed) so we needed to do better. I still think Root is going to be one of those players who just often enough gets a score to hide the fact he isn't up for test cricket. The Aussies showed their bowling superiority again and 6 wickets is a good haul on this pitch. Looks like we will go down 2-0 by lunch. At least we have decreased our margin of defeat from 381 to 281. If we can get to 181 in Perth and 81 in Melbourne statistically we should win in Sydney by about 19 runs.

  • shijin1429 on December 8, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    the truth is now england is under,bt englnd defeat australia more than this so clarke want to study frm cook how calm descent a captain be,cricket is a fairplay so idnt thnk clarke is a good captain,and another thng also now jhonson bowls well bt he is not a better bowler than anderson and broad in test,england will strike bak surely

  • paulkate72 on December 8, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    England hasn't looked at being in the contest in both Ashes tests so far. As well as being outplayed in all facets of the game, their captaincy doesn't match the Aussies. Michael Clarke comes behind a long line of aggressive Australian captains who believe the match is there to be won. The Australians don't let up on the pressure until the match is won. By contrast England, and almost any other nation, becomes defensive and lets the other team off the hook. A cricket match isn't won by playing it that way. I said before this Ashes series that Australia would win 2-1. It looks like it may well be more than that.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 8, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Rain would be a very disappointing arrival tomorrow, Australia deserve to win. Both Prior and Broad were very sketchy with their wickets due at any moment and it won't take more than a couple of overs to polish off Swann, Anderson and Monty so we shouldn't need too much play for the win. Even if it was a draw it won't change the fact England are being comprehensively outplayed on a daily basis.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Tomorrow will be fine 21 degrees no rain forecast. There will be overnight thunder and lightning but can see a full days play available tomorrow.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 8, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @ Mervo on (December 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT) I don't know what your problem is with the Adelaide pitch. its been pretty good in my eyes, little bit for everyone more for batsman so far .I watch cricket to see the best players and if Johnson is the only one performing blame the players not the pitch even though I think all the aussie bowlers have done well on a pitch their batsman scored 570 on.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 8, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @trafalgar It isn't pouring down. Isolated showers and thunderstorms in the morning, and raining in the evening. 80% chance of 2-6mm of rain. It's about the same as the forecast for today's play, and I didn't see too much rain or stormy weather personally.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on December 8, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, in fairness I think @milepost has a point about Cook. He's out of form yes but his decision making as a captain is so poor it's hard to believe. So if he's a liability with the bat and a poor captain what warrants his place in the side? "Unlike Australia England need a good reason to drop someone after 2or 3 failures". Lol, I'd say that's why you're in this predicament.

  • Nutcutlet on December 8, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    A day of damage-limitation - and successful, at least in those terms: there is some meaningful play left for Day 5. There is a mopping-up operation for Oz & also an opportunity for the tail to show some ticker tomorrow. Some dignity will have been salvaged if the resitance can last till lunchtime, or close to. What of Day 4? Eng must be concerned about Cook. We know he's a mighty fine batsman & a doughty fighter, but his mind is somewhere else. Is this the burden of captaincy? Without making excuses, I think winning the toss here handed a healthy advantage to Oz, already enjoying turbo-charged momentum. Cook's concentration would surely have been more focussed by batting first. For the rest, Joe Root shone. He nearly always plays in context & his dismissal had a element of freakishness about it. Good to see Stokes biffing it (but is he a Test #6?), although an ump error let him off an lb shout from Harris. KP reined himself in, but Bell didn't. Hope 4 Perth? Optimistically, a little.

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    I was very impressed with the young England brigade today. Both Root & Stokes dug in under pressure when their more experienced team mates should have stood up. Root played some lovely back foot drives and I was disappointed to see him fall short of what would've been a well deserved 100; great catch from Haddin though. Stokes looks a definite all-rounder of huge potential but I'm not sure he's a #6 batsman just yet; if Prior possessed his prior form I'd swap them.

    While it was Australia's day, I wasn't particularly impressed with the bowling. Lyon seemed to lack a bit of rhythm and none of them bowled at the stumps enough; natural variation on that pitch could've been their most effective tactic. And I was fairly unimpressed with Johnson late in the day. I'm all for the odd verbal, but getting into prolonged discussions nearly every over...give it a rest Mitch. He performs better when he keeps quiet anyway.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on December 8, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Well it's been a better day for England but you'd have to say on this wicket with their reputation they could bat six sessions. Unfortunately though the bowling and catching was too good, Australia out smarted the batsman again and it's much the same story. Australia will go to Perth 2-0 and England all but out of this Ashes.

  • gsingh7 on December 8, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    i think 10 ashes matches is an overkill. when best two teams in the world are playing a two test series in sa, why wud neutral fans watch teams lower in rankings for 10 matches on a trott. it is pretty mindless and weak planning by icc. we need more tests between top 2 sides and less of ashes. i had wanted better contest between bat and ball but johnson pace have completely dominated english batsmen in first 2 tests. lets see who wins in the end.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    It is pouring down tommorow, 80% chance of rain, not looking good for the Aussies.

  • jmcilhinney on December 8, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @milepost on (December 8, 2013, 6:50 GMT), what a ridiculous comment. I can guarantee you that noone is questioning Cook's place in the team. He has a good record and scored 68 in the second innings in Brisbane. Even if he was just a batsman he would have to do poorly for some time longer to be dropped but he's also the captain and the experienced half of the opening pair. He could not score another run this series and still play the next.

    I'd be shocked if both Prior and Swann didn't play in Perth. Certainly the fact that England don't have a host of fast bowlers looking threatening at the moment is in Swann's favour but England generally more loathe to play no spinners than to play two. As for Prior, he is starting to show signs of some form late in the second innings and England haven't shown a great deal of confidence in Bairstow up to now.

    Unlike Australia, England require more than two or three failures to drop someone with a good record or obvious potential.

  • Mervo on December 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    The Adelaide oval needs a re-think. Is it a cricket ground or a football ground. That wicket is just turgid. Low slow and lifeless. Only Johnson who bowled his heart out got anything. Please improve the wicket or give the test to another city.

  • AidanFX on December 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Kevin Pieterson has made a habit of pulling out to bat when the Bowler is through their motion. Once or twice fair game, but there have been too many. And he always leaves it to the very last moment. Let's just say what it is - a premeditated tactic to upset the bowler. Channel 9 showed extensive footage of him concentrating hard without allowing himself to be distracted by a fly. It is clear the other alleged moments he was 'distracted' was nothing. Whether he decides before the ball is bowled he will choose to pull out then, all he waits for a convenient opportunity to claim a 'distraction' - either way it is clear he is utilising a tactic. The biy has cried wolf too many times. It is not cricket!

  • RohanMarkJay on December 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Well better batting performance from England to last through stumps without losing the match. The way England has played in this second leg of back to back ashes series has this Australian side look far better than they actually are. These are two evenly matched sides with Oz having homeground advantage. Sure England may lose but not as badly as in Brisbane or here. Also the behavior of the Aussie cricket team, media and supporters at the grounds have been pretty poor. The test in Brisbane was particularly bad from the Aussies with Terrible behavior from Micheal Clarke at the end pointing his finger wagging abusive talk. Also at times Aussies behavior was bordering on personal abuse as Geoff Boycott stated. Aussies can play hard but no need to drag the game and the Ashes through the mud in absolutely desperate bid to regain the ashes. I like the gladiatorial combative style of Oz. But you can do it without disrespecting game and opposition as Oz team,fans and media has forgotten here.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 8, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Well done Australia, let the England tail and Prior score a few runs so the English selectors are confident to give them another go in Perth. I like it.

    Joking aside, well played Joe Root, and Carberry unlucky yet again. Not sure what to make of the KP window wiper or the Bell snaffoo, though. Cook on the other hand...

    As for Lyon, I think people forget how young he really is. 3 years the junior of SOK, he clearly has talent and if we have some faith in him and keep selecting him he's only going to get more experienced and consistent. Personally I think we should stick with him, he could give us a decade of not having to worry about which spinner to select which would be rather handy.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Xtrafalgarx; I read your post correctlyand talked about this match only. He hasn't got the wickets but think you were incorrect in labeling him disappointing. He has performed his role.

  • jmcilhinney on December 8, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    For the sake of the series, if nothing else, it's good to see England show a bit of grit in this innings. It's a testament to how poorly they've batted up to now, though, that 247/6 is something to celebrate. All the batsmen have managed to put something together now, but they obviously need to do it more consistently and at the same time. The bowling has been just about good enough so far, with the catching being the real problem during Australia's first innings. England may have performed better first time around with less scoreboard pressure. That's all academic though. In the here and now, its important that Prior spend some more time at the crease and play himself into some form for the rest of the series and it wouldn't hurt for Broad and Swann to score a few either.

  • browners76 on December 8, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    England are a shambles, completely shot of confidence. With Perth around the corner it really doesn't look good. I think Swann will be dropped for Perth and Eng will play four quicks. Bresnan will come in for Swann and probably Finn for Panesar. I think Stokes has done just enough to warrant another go. If England can just win a toss and bat and make a decent total then they can put this Australian line up under pressure. We just haven't been able to do that. I don't think it will be 5-0 but I think come the end of the Perth test the series will be gone.

  • dunger.bob on December 8, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Six wickets in the day for us and England get within 300 of a win. .. Our way for sure but much better from England. I'll tell you what though, I'm glad we didn't enforce the follow on or there might be some very stiff and sore bowlers trying to get to Perth. .. From Englands point of view, I guess they would be reasonably pleased. They finally made 200 and may even get to 400. Prior is responding to the paddles on his chest and seems to be reviving and we all know what an unpredictable customer Broad can be so it's not all over for them.

    Unless it rains tomorrow we should win this but I'm not going to say we definitely will. I've been watching cricket too long for that schoolboy error.

  • DJAbacus on December 8, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Great fight back from Australia. Another good day tomorrow and it's only 3-2 to England. Then off to Perth for round 8. Still backing England to win this epic ten match series.

  • Eight8 on December 8, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Pre series I though the Aussies fortunes would revolve around 3 key players. How would Johnson, Warner and Watson go?? Well 2 out of 3 have done well with MJ being phenomenal to date. Michael Clarke's form has been crucial as well, with a century in each match laying the foundation for us to set big chases in the 4th. Winning the toss has obviously been a benefit, too.

    Was hoping Bell wouldn't match his efforts of the northern summer and so far he has been held in check for 3 out of 4 innings (he might have gone big if he hadn't run out of partners in the first innings).

    Tell you what though, take MJ out of this match and England might well have made 400+ in the first innings. It was a real graft for all the other bowlers from both teams. Surely his 7-40 on that pitch is up there with the best Ashes bowing innings of all time?

  • milepost on December 8, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    284 runs to get, 4 wickets in hand..... I guess Australia should be disappointed that they let England break their 200 run hoodoo. I also think we should have had a finish today, a couple of poor decisions going against Australia but no complaints, the umpires have had a pretty good match. A finish in tomorrow's first session is fine. Will be very interesting to see England's team sheet for Perth.

  • gsingh7 on December 8, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    cook again gone for 1. kp was excited a bit when he said cook cud surpass sachin's record of 15900 test runs. at this rate cook will need decades to pass sachin's record. australia to wrap 2nd test with 2 sessions to go and lead series 2-0. england are on a slide and may end up as 4th in official icc rankings after the ashes.

  • latecut_04 on December 8, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    hmm..Quite an interesting day of play from a neutral perspective.Ofcourse Aussies should win barring rain by tomorrow lunch time latest but the Eng middle/lower middle order have shown what should have been done by the top order.Also no REVRESE SWING for Aus bowlers.i mean no havoc from reverse swing although they have bowled well and manufactired wickets aswell.BUT on unhelpful tarcks this attack would be what Aussie experts termed in2010/11 'guys are good on support role but we lack a strike bowler.Mitch who can do that is no where near to form'. Also Lyon is what he is.Best in Australia.nothing more and nothing less.If only KP/Bell had carried on especially KP we would have had a cracking contest.But right now as chappel said Jhonson seems to have got into the Eng batsmen's heads especially top order and most probably urn is returning to down under...!!from India

  • Eight8 on December 8, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Good day of attritional cricket. Aussie bowlers made to work hard and the English bats finally showed some fight. If anything the pitch is at it's deadest and reinforces just how good MJ's first innings efforts were. he is the one that has really put Australia in a position to win. They make 300+ in the first innings and chances are it is a draw.

    The Aussies should be good enough to winkle the final 4 wickets out tomorrow, but I tell you what English fans, I think you've got a good prospect in Joe Root. He's been moved all round the order and although his record still has some way to go, he looks to have the aptitude for test level. A tough tour like this one will only put him in good stead in future years with the experience he will get.

    Hats off to the English for digging in and not capitulating, but hopefully the Aussies finish the business tomorrow.

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:- Since you've chosen to call our passion for the Ashes 'self indulgence' how would you characterise the recent series Vs WI? What noun do you think would be appropriate to attach to that, and was it in the best interests of test cricket?

  • PrasPunter on December 8, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    so what is the forecast in Adelaide for Monday ? Looking okay ? DO we have enough time to snap the remaining 4 ?

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:-Since we're discussing how one might serve test cricket best could you kindly help me understand how curtailing the SA series to play a couple of vanity matches instead Vs WI fits into the plan?

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @Shaggy @Rajesh: Jees, learn to read. I'm not saying he is a bad bowler, i'm jsut saying he has been dissappointing in this match, he hasn't looked at his best, doesn't mean he is a bad bowler.

  • Harlequin. on December 8, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    So the talk before the game was of the senior plays to step forward and lead from the front, but it has been the new fella's who have done that so far. Root is performing as well as we knew he could, and Stokes seems fairly solid against Mitch. Very disappointed with Cook so far, taking on the short ball doesnt mean you have to try and hit each one. Trying to think back to a time where he put up big scores against a good bowling attack (i.e. not India, Bangla, or the aus attack last time he was here).....

    @Biggus - well said, in general!

  • on December 8, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    xtrafalgarx...ur comments do not make sense when he has been the most sought after bowler for Australia in recent times. Come Perth ur statement will change for sure.

  • dunger.bob on December 8, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    To anyone who's interested: There's a reason we've had back to back Ashes and it hasn't got anything to do with England and Australia closing ranks and trying to exclude anyone from the Test party. It's actually a scheduling compromise designed to keep the calendar open so both of these teams can keep their commitments to the Future Tours schedule. We're having them now so we can play other teams as promised. The reason they had to do this was because of the timing of two events that outrank the ashes. The 2012 London Olympics (In England, obviously) and the 2015 cricket World Cup in Australia. .. That's the real and only reason for these back to back Ashes. ... Not that I expect that to appease some critics.

  • milepost on December 8, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Surely some in the back room must be starting to question whether Cook's place in the side is warranted? Prior won't likely play in Perth, neither will Swann. But who have they got? Bresnan in for Stokes? Bairstow for Prior? Lots of questions to be answered. I think Australia still have issues at 3 and 5 but I doubt they will change a winning team.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    xtrafalgarx ; What a poor comment about Harris, are you just looking for people to hang during an absolute dominant display on a very good batting wicket. You say hasnt looked like taking a wicket, then when he had stokes there were no reviews left. Well that ball looked like taking a wicket as did several others he has bowled very well just hasnt got the reward. All bowlers have done excellent jobs.

  • milepost on December 8, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Should have plenty of time to wrap it up today, we are effectively into the tail and with the new ball due that should do it. 2-0 with the decider for us in Perth just days away is a good spot to be in.

  • Naresh28 on December 8, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    GOOD TIMES are back for OZ. well done to the team for coming out of the trough. With a good bowling attack any team can win in world cricket. Indis needs to find that balance otherwise they will be forever poor travellers. BCCI needs to sort out the pitch issue so that we can nurture both fast bowlers and batsman on these type of pitches. We can still have spin as well as our main weapon.

  • dunger.bob on December 8, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    Stokes and Prior digging in but the Aussies still bowling well. Lyon could shift his line a little to the left for the right handers but he did get Root. ... BTW, I've said all along I'm impressed with Joe's temperament and ticker. I've seen nothing today to change my mind about that.

  • AussieSam on December 8, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @unbiased_referee: You've got to be kidding. Ashes Tests are the only Tests that fill cricket grounds. Trent Bridge, Durham and The Oval this year were great matches, and Brisbane was stunning if only for the fact that the favourites to win the series got absolutely annihilated by one of the most ferocious fast bowling performances by anyone for a good while. I just wish SA would start playing 5 match series.

  • Chris_P on December 8, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    @bagley. You might want to check domestic results re: Smith. He was our best performing young batsman in the Shield, hence his selection. His initial selection was on a basis of promise, but not this time round. He should stay in this side for a while yet, as long as he maintains or even improves. he is part of our future.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    If there is a bowler who has underperformed it's Ryan Harris. He has been very dissappointing as much as it hurts to admit, no wickets all game and hasn't really looked like taking one. Reviewed one when it was no where near out then when he had Stokes the review was gone, threw it for 4 over throws.

  • VivGilchrist on December 8, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    A lot of talk on tv and radio about wasting reviews, but how about the onus being on the umpires about actually giving the correct OUT decision? Let's get the best umpires, irrespective of where they are from. These two look too scared to give anyone out.....

  • GurSinghgur on December 8, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    England's Ashes win last (English) summer was always a great deal narrower than many commentators (notably English ones) cared to admit. One English victory almost went the other way; and England were at least lucky with another.

  • AussieSam on December 8, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    @cccrider: While I think O'Keefe deserved to be given a go in India (as second spinner) you can't say he is a better spinner than Lyon until you've seen him bowl at the top level. Especially when Lyon has such a good record so far. 90 wickets from 26 matches at 32 and an economy rate of 3.

    Only place I would consider dropping Lyon is Perth. Although he does well on bouncy pitches I just think the way England have been playing Johnson it might be worth going with four seamers, bringing left armer Bollinger in as he seems to be in good form.

    All over for England now. Prior has a chance to bat himself back into some sort of form, and Stokes a chance to show he can bat, but not even the weather can save them now.

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    @Jagger:- What many neutral observers fail to see about the Australia/England relationship is that most of the aggression on display stays on the field and we're pretty good mates off it, not always the case mind, but generally that's true. The same is true also of the fans, we tend to give each other a lot of stick but the bulk of followers on both sides are quietly pretty fond of each other, though we might not state it explicitly. It needn't be, since it's understood. Contrast with the fan to fan relationships of some other countries and their fiercest rivals, and there really seems to be an intense dislike there, brooding and ever present. That's why we LOVE the Ashes, we're like two boxers who can beat each other to a pulp in the ring and be friends out of it. 90% of the time it stays there, the other 10% being a predictable consequence of highly ambitious and driven individuals vying for supremacy, regrettable indeed, but this is test match cricket, not ballroom dancing.

  • on December 8, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Cook's stats since the 190 at Kolkata last Decemeber : 26 Innings , 2 centuries(both against NZ) , 4 half centuries. Average - 30.04!!!! Kinda sums up the while scenario, doesn't it?!

  • dinosaurus on December 8, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    @simon Myob If it was as easy as you make it sound, they'd all be doing it. Incidentally, Johnson is a superb athlete, "running out of puff" is not his style. To understand my post, put your pads and protective gear on, and face an express bowler. Just take note of how calm and in control you feel!

  • bagley on December 8, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    smith is not a test batsman or bowler, but he remains in the side on perceived potential rather than results in domestic cricket, not a good way to pick a team, they should have stuck with rogers when they first picked him, he is getting too old now, but could have retired with a few thousand test runs, instead they experimented with hughes and ruined his confidence.

  • unbiased_referee on December 8, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @Biggus: Surely ENG & AUS fans have right to be so fond of mutual clashes, almost to the extent of "collective self-indulgence"; but this cannot do any good to Test Cricket at any rate, given the modern day international cricket calender of all formats. The overall impact and contribution of recent "Ashes" clashes do not do any service to Cricket technically and/or aesthetically. So ENG & AUS have to recognize the need to lower this self indulgence to serve Test Cricket better.

  • cccrider on December 8, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Test cricket is not a nursery, nor should people have to apologise for Lyons. Lyon is palpably not up to this level. Line and length and control are mandatory. O'Keefe is head and shoulders the best spinner in Australia.

  • heathrf1974 on December 8, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    @Simon Myob; you make a good point Simon; England has seemed to have lost some of their patience; which is (was) their greatest strength.

  • on December 8, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    You know you are well and truly on top when Stevie Smith strikes!! Not exactly a new Warnie but he's got the wood on Ian Bell. The end is nigh. Prior and the tail will disappear in a cloud of smoke.

  • RMCroos on December 8, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Its dosent matter whats the result of the ASHES series ...thanks to both country and players TEST cricket still feels better ................I am happy to watch ASHES test series cricket lover from Srilanka..

  • VivGilchrist on December 8, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    It's time for Lyon to stand up. Smith has looked more dangerous on this surface. Going to the WACA will Lyon justify his spot on that pitch? I hope so.

  • Jagger on December 8, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    Well said Biggus. One of the best posts ever.

    May I add to it, please, and say to all those with a problem with Australian aggression on the sporting field, please read: Australia vs England Ashes cricket is an integral part of our culture. It matters to us. To many of us it is the one REAL cricket battle. Without exception, it must be hard. Young boys must become ruthless men prematurely in order to survive. Each country wants to hold the Ashes at whatever cost - complaining of hurt feelings is a weakness and not the domain of men. Despite what you hear from the 'experts', it is regarded as effeminate in our culture and that will not change. Indeed, as we give respect to all religions and cultures, we ask that you respect ours.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Simon Myob; Hawkeye is just the predictive path technology, maybe your talking pitch map or something. It may be better to pay attention by watching the bowling, he is in full control of all his balls and his pitched up wider ones always follow a couple of accurate bouncers. Johnson control in this test has been brilliant, it is a flat slow wicket yet he has decimated England. Just accept it he has flogged you with brilliant bowling.

  • Shaggy076 on December 8, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    cccrider; Lyon has no issue with tying batsman up, however the dominance of this game has led to him being in the position to be more attacking and giving up a few runs. Lyon has picked up critical wickets this series and done his job beautifully, like all the bowlers.

  • Chris_P on December 8, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    @cccrider. Lyons should be persevered with, he bowled well in England, bowled very well in Brisbane & has outbowled both English spinners on an unresponsive pitch. He will be a great asset for us. What we don't want to do is chop & change a winning combination, especially when they are contributing. Good effort by Root to date, too, I always thought his technique suited our pitches better.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on December 8, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    @cccrider: Yeah I agree, Lyon doesn't look dangerous despite the turn he gets. I still have bad memories of South Africa playing him so easily on the last day in Adelaide a year ago. He might still clean up here with 6 wickets to go and that would be great but if he doesn't then it's still a concern. Can they just drop him after 2 years of experience and almost 100 wickets though, it's a toughie. Perhaps they can play him and O'Keefe in Sydney so we can finally see who looks more threatening.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @cccrider: Calm down, he is no where near the finished article yet, but he is clearly our best. He has been more successful than any other spinner in the series so far. Patience is key, we need it with Smith, Warner has started to repay it, we need it with a few others.

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    Clearly the England batsman didn't work out that Johnson is just puff and wind. Fast? Undoubtedly. But Hawk-Eye tells the tale. The guy is all over the shop.

    He has enough puff to bowl maybe 4 or 5 overs and then he's done. Is it that hard to see him off? I don't know why they're trying to score off him. Let him run himself into the ground bowling balls that would never hit a 2nd or 3rd set. Ridiculous batting. Bowling machines are all well and good, and no doubt they are used, but when the bowling is so wayward, it's cray to try hitting it. Just defend the straight ones and leave it at that. Blimey!

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    Beautiful bowling by Steve Smith! What a devious plan; ignoring the well-travelled route of using the pitch to turn the ball, he instead opts to let gravity do the work. Those 5 & a half ounces dropped quickly on Bell, but they'll weigh even more heavily on his shoulders back in the sheds.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    A little part of the sherminator still exists everytime a blonde legspinner bowls to Bell, no matter how good. The ghost of Shane Warne still lives!

  • cccrider on December 8, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    Lyon is clearly in no way a test spinner. He does not have the basic control and accuracy. Lyon can be hit out of an attack at will. O'Keefe would be far better. Lyon is unreliable, and adds greatly to the workload of a pace attack. You could have O'Keefe toiling away at one end for sessions, locking up an end with barely any runs and wickets and rotate the pacers at the other end. Lyon is just not up to it.

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Beautiful bowling all round by Australia on the flattest of wickets. Every bowler has probed in exactly the right areas and has used every conceivable type of variation possible (round the wicket, wide of the crease, good short balls, tempting away swinging wide balls) yet have still been consistent in their line and lengths. Mitchell Johnson has been incredibly accurate at high pace and has put almost everyone of his balls exactly where he planned. Eighty percent of Watson's devliveries are reverse swinging precisely to the top of off stump and what more could one ask for but Peter Siddle; the man who epitomises patience and stamina to take Pietersen's wicket to break a great partnership. Yes Johnson's pace gives this attack that edge but the true class of this attack is shown in their ability to maintain high quality over long periods in any conditions. This is what sets it apart from most attacks in the world...Maybe even the Saffa's!!

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:-Call me a cynic Mr unbiased_referee, but I'm sensing some bias in your comment. Actually it doesn't matter one whit if neutral observers are unhappy with the Ashes since England and Australia are really rather fond of our clashes, and have no intention of curtailing them to assuage your discontent. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess you have your own series to follow atm anyway.

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    A very impressive performance under pressure by Root, he really looks a fine prospect. He & KP are doing an excellent job so far.

    The pitch is probably slower and not as mischievous as Australia would like but the bowlers are being disciplined and are getting some reverse, it will be interesting to see who blinks first. The good news for England is that Aus will have to work hard to win this match and with a 3 day turn around England will be the fresher of the two sides in Perth. And if they manage to salvage a draw (or win!) it could be just the thing to spark them back into form. It'd be great to see it 1-1 heading to Perth!

    Oh, wait...and Siddle gets KP again. Can Root/Bell do a Faf?

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    GOT HIM..again.! Just when things were getting a little worrying siddle has got Pieterson again. Seems that he is determined to get on top of Siddle because he underrates him. Root is showing that he is ok at three for all the calls to bring in Bell.This is similar to calls for clarke to come up the order ...why change the one thing that is working in the lineup. good luck boys!

  • unbiased_referee on December 8, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    In light of the proceedings so far they should consider redefining "Ashes" as Six Test (mis)Matches of four day each! Quite frankly, looking at the one-sidedness of "Ashes" clashes in the recent past, they should cut down the frequency drastically with either side playing other international sides more often so Test Cricket can be saved from extreme boredom such as this.

  • on December 8, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    I am still in shock what england manage in first innings that too on Adelaide placid track, eng hopes will now depand on how long Kp and bell bat, good to see Joe root putting anchor down and fighting it out but still exicted and hoping for a KP special which can lit the ashes! Fingers crossed!!!

  • landl47 on December 8, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    Even if Joe Root doesn't make a big score, this has been very useful experience for him. He's showing that he has the temperament and technique to hang in when everything is going pear-shaped and for a 22-year old that's encouraging.

    Australia continues to bowl very well and Harris and Lyon, not the two who would spring to mind when talking about Australia's best fielders, held excellent catches. The Aussies are playing as a unit and all supporting each other. A very good display by a team that's turned itself around.

  • landl47 on December 8, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    Even if Joe Root doesn't make a big score, this has been very useful experience for him. He's showing that he has the temperament and technique to hang in when everything is going pear-shaped and for a 22-year old that's encouraging.

    Australia continues to bowl very well and Harris and Lyon, not the two who would spring to mind when talking about Australia's best fielders, held excellent catches. The Aussies are playing as a unit and all supporting each other. A very good display by a team that's turned itself around.

  • on December 8, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    I am still in shock what england manage in first innings that too on Adelaide placid track, eng hopes will now depand on how long Kp and bell bat, good to see Joe root putting anchor down and fighting it out but still exicted and hoping for a KP special which can lit the ashes! Fingers crossed!!!

  • unbiased_referee on December 8, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    In light of the proceedings so far they should consider redefining "Ashes" as Six Test (mis)Matches of four day each! Quite frankly, looking at the one-sidedness of "Ashes" clashes in the recent past, they should cut down the frequency drastically with either side playing other international sides more often so Test Cricket can be saved from extreme boredom such as this.

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    GOT HIM..again.! Just when things were getting a little worrying siddle has got Pieterson again. Seems that he is determined to get on top of Siddle because he underrates him. Root is showing that he is ok at three for all the calls to bring in Bell.This is similar to calls for clarke to come up the order ...why change the one thing that is working in the lineup. good luck boys!

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    A very impressive performance under pressure by Root, he really looks a fine prospect. He & KP are doing an excellent job so far.

    The pitch is probably slower and not as mischievous as Australia would like but the bowlers are being disciplined and are getting some reverse, it will be interesting to see who blinks first. The good news for England is that Aus will have to work hard to win this match and with a 3 day turn around England will be the fresher of the two sides in Perth. And if they manage to salvage a draw (or win!) it could be just the thing to spark them back into form. It'd be great to see it 1-1 heading to Perth!

    Oh, wait...and Siddle gets KP again. Can Root/Bell do a Faf?

  • Biggus on December 8, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @unbiased_referee:-Call me a cynic Mr unbiased_referee, but I'm sensing some bias in your comment. Actually it doesn't matter one whit if neutral observers are unhappy with the Ashes since England and Australia are really rather fond of our clashes, and have no intention of curtailing them to assuage your discontent. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess you have your own series to follow atm anyway.

  • on December 8, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Beautiful bowling all round by Australia on the flattest of wickets. Every bowler has probed in exactly the right areas and has used every conceivable type of variation possible (round the wicket, wide of the crease, good short balls, tempting away swinging wide balls) yet have still been consistent in their line and lengths. Mitchell Johnson has been incredibly accurate at high pace and has put almost everyone of his balls exactly where he planned. Eighty percent of Watson's devliveries are reverse swinging precisely to the top of off stump and what more could one ask for but Peter Siddle; the man who epitomises patience and stamina to take Pietersen's wicket to break a great partnership. Yes Johnson's pace gives this attack that edge but the true class of this attack is shown in their ability to maintain high quality over long periods in any conditions. This is what sets it apart from most attacks in the world...Maybe even the Saffa's!!

  • cccrider on December 8, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    Lyon is clearly in no way a test spinner. He does not have the basic control and accuracy. Lyon can be hit out of an attack at will. O'Keefe would be far better. Lyon is unreliable, and adds greatly to the workload of a pace attack. You could have O'Keefe toiling away at one end for sessions, locking up an end with barely any runs and wickets and rotate the pacers at the other end. Lyon is just not up to it.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 8, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    A little part of the sherminator still exists everytime a blonde legspinner bowls to Bell, no matter how good. The ghost of Shane Warne still lives!

  • HatsforBats on December 8, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    Beautiful bowling by Steve Smith! What a devious plan; ignoring the well-travelled route of using the pitch to turn the ball, he instead opts to let gravity do the work. Those 5 & a half ounces dropped quickly on Bell, but they'll weigh even more heavily on his shoulders back in the sheds.