Monday, 6 December 2010

KP Leads Way From First Ball To Last

More records tumbling at the Adelaide Oval on day 4. KP notching up his highest test score with his thrill-a-minute 227; the biggest Ashes total ever at the Adelaide; the second highest total by England in Australia, only 16 short of the mark set in Sydney in 1928; the first time England have posted consecutive scores of over 500; only the second time England have managed four partnerships of 100 or more in one innings....the list goes on.

What a superb day of test cricket. The day started with Pietersen, Bell and then Prior given a licence to thrill by captain Strauss as they hurried to the declaration. 69 runs were added in only 9 overs. Nearly every ball was a boundary waiting to happen, particularly from the hapless Doherty. His first three overs went for 13, 11 and 14. First innings figures of 1-158 from 27 overs. Will the Aussies have to change their bowling line-up again for Perth and find another spinner? Hauritz back or a chance for leggy Steve Smith?

Bell played some wonderfully inventinve shots on his way to 68 not out and one could argue he has now missed out on two deserved test centuries. In Brisbane due to a lack of partners and here because of the declaration.

Then it was the turn of Ponting's men to show how they could bat on this wearing but still excellent pitch. Unscathed at lunch, they then lost three wickets in the afternoon session, Swann doing what Doherty couldn't by spinning the ball sharply out of the foot marks and grabbing the prize wickets of the skipper and a crocked Katich.

Meek surrender doesn't come naturally for Australia and it was no surprise to see a comeback mounted by Clarke and Hussey. Both had scares but it was Clarke who fell to the final ball of the day to the spinner...not Swann but Pietersen of all people. He's had some day.

Barmy Army in full cry once more. Vocal ringleader, Jimmy Saville, managed to last the whole day after being ejected from the ground yesterday (he was later allowed to return). Then there was a lovely banner unfurled by the English supporters in the new build, next to the Sir Donald Bradman Stand:. It read: Sir Alastair Cook Stand. Let's hope he goes on and on. Could he break another of the Don's records? He now has 450 runs in the series, at an everage of 225. Bradman scored 974 in England in 1930. Wally Hammond has the most by an Englishman in an Ashes series: 905, Down Under in 1928-9. Cook's nearly halfway there.

The day ended with the Aussies praying for plenty of the forecast rain on the final day. Talk about role reversals. England will be buoyed by that late wicket. A struggling North in next, then Haddin and a fairly long tail. It would be a crying shame if it was still all sqaure going into the third test. The weather is the chief barrier.

And, say it quietly, but England could retain the Ashes in Perth if it wins here and on the West coast. One step at a time. Much work to be done yet.

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