ENG v NZ (1)
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Australia have scored another emphatic victory over England by winning the second Ashes Test at Adelaide inside four days, by an innings and 51 runs.
On Sunday, England were bowled out for 159 to allow Australia to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Australia showed exactly how a classy all-round team performance can win Test matches. As simple as it may seem, the essence of Australia's win was because their batsmen played positively and scored the runs, and because their bowlers put the ball in the right places to take the wickets.
Generally, the England bowling was sub-standard, their batting atrocious and their fielding simply unacceptable. On a wicket which did deteriorate for the batting side, England were unable to put runs on the board. This despite Australian No 9 Andrew Bichel himself making 48 runs on Saturday.
England 's second innings started to fall apart at the end of day three when chasing 210 to make Australia bat again. They were 3/36 at stumps - losing first innings run-makers, Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher and captain Nasser Hussain, cheaply.
The overnight break gave the visitors no joy or respite. The second complete over of the morning resulted in the loss of Robert Key for one. Key was hailed as a possible threat for the Australians after his 174 not out against Australia A. He played a lazy pull shot straight to Darren Lehmann at mid-wicket off the bowling of Bichel (two for 31). Bichel's two wickets and runs will help his cause in the fight with Brett Lee for the final position for the third Test in Perth.
Key's departure brought wicket-keeper/batsman Alec Stewart to the crease and with him came some old British bulldog fight. He carved out a fifty, showing brashness and ingenuity. He played some rough shots and others that were straight out of the manual as he took on the Australian attack.
Stewart, 57, though was a lone warrior. His attempts to get the scoreboard ticking over allowed England to avoid complete humiliation, though it appeared to be somewhat in vain. In his innings, he brought up his 8000th Test run to sit him twelfth on the all-time list of run-scorers.
Opener Michael Vaughan, coming off his first innings score of 177, offered some support to Stewart. Yet he holed out to Shane Warne (three for 36) after some Glenn McGrath magic. On 41, Vaughan tried to dismiss Warne over the boundary only to be on the receiving end of one of the catches of the summer.
McGrath, fully out-stretched and parallel to the ground, caught Vaughan at deep mid-wicket with one hand. The ball bobbed out of his left and into his right to give Warne his first wicket of the innings. It was a wonderfully-timed piece of fielding, with McGrath never taking his eyes off the ball.
Rain lightly sprinkled across the ground giving both sides a longer lunch but it only seemed to delay the inevitable.
When play resumed, all-rounder Craig White lasted over three quarters of an hour until he played a silly shot to substitute fielder Lee, at mid-on, off the bowling of McGrath (four for 41). White could only add five to the total with Warne completely shutting down his end and the pacemen not giving much width.
Stewart, then, fell victim to Warne for the 14th time. Warne trapped the 39-year-old leg before wicket with a slider and it signalled the beginning of the end with only bunnies to come.
Paceman Matthew Hoggard (1) appeared to be in a jovial mood enjoying the occasion of facing McGrath. With each ball that he dodged, he gave a movement of the head a la Courtney Walsh. But his antics lasted only until the next McGrath over when the lanky paceman dismantled Hoggard's stumps.
Stephen Harmison, trying to play a dinky shot to the onside, fell leg before wicket to Warne without troubling the scorers.
The final partnership between Richard Dawson (19) and Andrew Caddick (6 not out) put on 25 runs. Dawson, in particular, played some strong square drives - in one instance taking 12 off McGrath with three consecutive boundaries to that area.
He became McGrath's fourth wicket of the innings after the quick tempted him outside off. Trying to put it away, the 22-year-old got an inside edge, which Adam Gilchrist took care of.
The final day, then, was an excellent exhibition of controlled bowling from the Australian quicks and Warne on a good batting pitch. The bowlers gave England no peace and were continually hungry for the 10 available scalps.
England will need to consolidate and turn things around in five days with the Test starting at the WACA on Friday.