Saturday, 4 December 2010
Let's Hope We Can Bowl...
...this was the front page headline this morning in the local rag, The Advertiser. Well two changes to the Aussie bowling attack but the same treatment from England's dominant batsmen. In the last two innings, Strauss' men have amassed 834 for the loss of only 3 wickets. What a transformation from 2006 when an England batting collapse was lurking around every Australian corner.
No doubting the tormenter-in-chief for England; Alastair Cook who has now scored over 400 runs and been unbeaten for over 1,000 minutes. He will be hard pressed to beat his double ton under pressure in Brisbane but in the sweltering conditions at the Adelaide Oval his concentration levels have been quite staggering. A 150 looms on day 3, and maybe more if his defence remains as strong and his square cutting as immaculate. 3 consecutive boundaries through point off the bowling of Doherty just one of many highlights in his flawless knock.
Trott again looked confident and untroubled before chipping a catch to Clarke. Any hopes that Ponting had that this would bring some respite for his team were rudely dashed when Pietersen came in and batted like a man who has been sitting with his pads on for hours, itching to get in and stamp his authority on proceedings. Looks like there's far more batting to come from Mr Twitter in this series.
All of this after losing the toss on day one, bringing a grin and, 'Well have a bat," from Punter. He certainly wasn't smiling after the first over which saw him follow Katich back into the pavillion without scoring. You wouldn't want to miss the first over of play in this series. A comical run-out and a beaut of a delivery from Anderson to get the Aussie captain were the treats this time round. This is maybe the one area the men in baggy greeen are matching England; snaring Strauss in the first over today to follow his duck in the opening over in Brisbane.
Anderson and Swann ensured that this rude awakening for Australia wasn't in vain. Ponting must have had 400+, even 450+ as a par score when batting first in the City of Churches. 245 was a world away.
Two days in and England really couldn't be in a more dominant position. A big total beckons. The pitch is starting to take spin. There may be some uneven bounce. Tails are up. A note of caution: this test is following a similar pattern to the first one where Australia bowled England out for less than 300 and ended up leading by over 200 after the first innings. Yet it still couldn't force a victory.
Strauss won't want to be declaring too early either, if he has the chance, after the debacle of 2006. Let Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood and Bell make a bit more hay yet.
Best case scenario: England rack up a monstrous 600+ score and win by an innings. Worst case Australia find some inspiration on day 3, manage to limit England to a lead of no more than 150 before piling on the runs in its second innings and bowling England out late on day 5. It's a measure of how far England has come that the first scenario sounds plausible while the second sounds fanciful.
We know what Australian sides of the past would do in England's present situation. It's pay-back time.