* CLICK HERE to visit Chris Stocks' column (where Simon Katich has a say too!) and get his input of day 2's preceedings from an English cricket supporters perspective! Feel free to contact him too!
I don't think many were expecting what was awaiting for the remainder of day 2, after England blasted away to make 435 runs!
Their lower order launched an assault, that probably could have been avoided, but Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz wrapped it all up!
Nathan Hauritz impressed with 3/95, Mitchell Johnson kicked in with 3/83 - meaning he only needs 3 more for 100 wickets - and Peter Siddle took 2/121 and bowled alot better than his figures would indicate. He just took a bit of strain this morning.
Ben Hilfenhaus impressed, and the way he swung that ball will keep many eye brows lifted for the remainder of the series! He ended with 2/77 after 27 overs!So, all in all our bowlers chipped and key wickets fell when needed!
Although England definitly got away, and I am sure many Australian supporters, even myself, were a bit concerned and frustrated at the morning session!
But as I said to a mate of mine, we haven't even started our inningsm just wait!
249/1 at the close of play, well, I have only positive things to say!
Phillip Hughes set off briskly and while he didn't make a half-century, his opening stand of 60 with Simon Katich was so important to the foundation of this innings. They just had to better the Strauss/Cook partnership!
Phillip fell with a faint inside edge for 36. A little upsetting, but he has his first Ashes runs, and I reckon we are in line for many more!
But the major blow to the English today was the return of our Skipper, Ricky Ponting, and our unstoppable left-handed opener Simon Katich!
Both of them played majestic innings' as gave ourselves a fighting chance in chasing England's total. Maybe the English needed 500?
Punter has needed a ton for a long time, and as I mentioned in my 'Baggy Green Squad Spotter', Punter would need runs and plenty of them. More importantly Punter steps up when questioned eg. India last year, and the modern day legend lodged his 38th Test century! Even better Punter reached 11 000 Test runs! Allan Border's total is being chased down game by game! I am proud of Punter, and this century made up for the questionable field settings he had in place in the morning session!
The relief of this century will be like taking a major weight off his shoulders! Best part is that Punter and Katto can carry on where they left off tomorrow!
You can't forget Katto! You never can! His form has been so unbelievably consistent since returning to our team against the Windies, and he gets right into the action!
His strokes were cautious but confident, and after Phillip departed with 60 on the board, he refocused and with Punter they built up a massive partnership that is still standing, and tomorrow you can be sure they will be ready to fire on tomorrow!
Katto shuffled about excellently to the spinners, created space to punish a couple through the off-side, but played alot of the spin to the leg side with soft hands, and calm composure! All in all two sensational innings' I plan to take another look at! The seniors have stepped up in the first innings, so it will be important for them to take as much from this as they can, although Katto's form cannot be questioned from as far back as the last 2005 Ashes series!
His debut Ashes century and Punter's 11 000 runs, made it a special day.
So, I think it is easy to conclude, that despite a rough session England definitly dominated at the start of play, the Baggy Green fought back and our top 3 gave us the momentum like we did at the end of day 1!
Brilliant work, and will day 3 also have some action packed, edge of your seat entertainment!
Still plenty of batsmen to play and all of them are very, very hungry for some runs!
Importantly, there is still plenty work to do tomorrow to chase down, and potentially get a strong lead!
Have your say in the comments, or send me an email!