Match reports

Australia v England

At Brisbane, November 7, 8, 9, 10, 2002

Trevor Marshallsea
At Brisbane, November 7, 8, 9, 10, 2002. Australia won by 384 runs. Toss: England.
It will go down as one of the costliest decisions in Test history. England captain Nasser Hussain had forecast in his last pre-Ashes newspaper column that "the worst nightmare" would be working out what to do if he won the toss. Despite the fact opening batsmen Vaughan and Trescothick were clearly his side's most potent weapons, Hussain sent Australia in. At stumps on day one, Australia were 364 for two. There went the match and the momentum. Hussain's choice will rank up there with David Gower's invitation to the 1989 Australians to bat at Headingley, a gesture repaid by a first-innings score of 601 for seven declared. Australia went on to win that Ashes series 4-0, and have been winning them ever since.
Hussain later admitted his mistake, saying it had been based on a belief there would be enough early life in the green-tinged pitch to help his inexperienced seam attack restrict the Australian batting. The pitch quickly dried out into the proverbial belter, and Hayden and Ponting feasted. They put on 272 for the second wicket in 253 minutes, Hayden continuing his incredible 2002 by marching imperiously to 186 not out at stumps, while Ponting fell in the final hour of the day for 123. By then, the young pace bowler Simon Jones had tumbled out of the attack - and the series - when he horribly ruptured knee ligaments in the field. He bowled only seven overs, and dismissed Langer with his ninth ball.
Both captains pointed out that, whatever a team does with the toss, they still have to execute their plans well. While Australia surged, England did not help their own chances. The tourists put down four catches on the opening day; Hayden survived on 40, when the luckless Jones held a catch on the fine-leg boundary but cancelled it by falling over the rope.
Hayden, dropped also on 102, 138 and 149, moved to within three runs of a double-century early on the second morning before gloving a leg-side catch off Caddick. There began a substandard batting performance from the new-look Australian middle order, now bereft of Mark Waugh, sacked after 107 consecutive Tests. They lost four for 37, with Martyn, Steve Waugh and Gilchrist all failing, and helping to reduce England's target from mammoth to merely daunting. Waugh, who was still on four after an hour at the crease, fell to a clever leg-gully trap set by Hussain, the first chapter of an intriguing battle between the captains over the series. It was left to Warne, with some lusty hitting, to scramble a total of 492.
England began their reply well against an attack missing Brett Lee, who had been sent back to state cricket to find form, a move which would pay off handsomely later. Vaughan showed glimpses of what lay ahead in the series with a quickfire 33, then Trescothick and Butcher saw their side through to stumps at 158 for one. It was Australia's turn to underperform in the field, with each batsman dropped once and Butcher surviving a stumping chance.
Both men were out in the same McGrath over next morning, but Hussain - dropped on 12 as the fielding mishaps continued - and Crawley continued to take the game to the feared Australian attack, adding 97 for the fourth wicket. Once Hussain was removed for 51, however, the familiar England collapse began - from 268 for three to 325.
Facing a deficit of 167, Hussain went on the attack, and his aggressive fields were rewarded when Australia quickly lost Langer and Ponting to Caddick. Normal order was soon restored, however, and the following day, the awe-inspiring Hayden cracked 60 off as many balls to reach his second hundred of the match, his seventh in ten Tests, and his sixth in seven Tests on home soil. He fell for 103, but with Martyn and the quick-scoring Gilchrist reaching half-centuries, Waugh was able to declare on 296 for five, scored in just 71 overs against an attack both undermanned and unimaginative.
In contrast with their first-innings resistance, now came the darkest hour for England. Needing to make a fanciful 464 to win or bat for 47 overs and a day to avert defeat, Hussain's men lost Vaughan, again to McGrath, off the third ball of the innings, and went on to capitulate pathetically for 79 in just 28.2 overs. That Butcher scored 40 of them says much about his colleagues. It was one of the worst England batting efforts since Tests began, with the last seven wickets (Jones was absent) falling inside 13 overs, and the innings lasting little more than two hours. The final result was their fourth-heaviest defeat by runs; it was also a 50th defeat in 123 Tests for Stewart, who completed his first Test pair. McGrath claimed four more wickets and would have made a deserving man of the match, but for the broad-shouldered Hayden who scored 300 over both innings on his home ground. It would take a phenomenal effort for England to rebound from here.
Man of the Match: M. L. Hayden. Attendance: 81,277.
Close of play: First day, Australia 364-2 (Hayden 186, Martyn 9); Second day, England 158-1 (Trescothick 63, Butcher 51); Third day, Australia 111-2 (Hayden 40, Martyn 40).