22 November 2013

The Ashes: 1st Test, day 2

Australia 1st innings: 295 all out from 97.1 overs
Brad Haddin 94, David Warner 49
Stuart Broad 6-81

England 1st innings: 136 all out from 52.4 overs
Michael Carberry 40
Mitchell Johnson 4-61, Ryan Harris 3-28, Nathan Lyon 2-17

Australia 2nd innings: 0/65 from 22 overs
David Warner 45*, Chris Rogers 15*

Match status: Australia lead by 224 runs with 10 wickets remaining, 3 days play to go.

Verdict: The Baggy Greens took day 2 after the first day went to England. It was an elite performance from our mint bowling attack which saw Ryan Harris execute his immense skills with discipline, Nathan Lyon find success with an attacking field, Peter Siddle building pressure and mighty Mitchell Johnson marking his comeback with some ferocious bowling as the spearhead. Going to stumps with 10 wickets in tact and a healthy lead secured the days play for us.

I have had a grin on my face most of the evening. Watching the highlights package I smiled as Nathan Lyon took his first wicket. This wasn't because of the wicket as such but it was because I saw my Australian team fighting back into a Test match and a crowd roar in support with an atmosphere I almost have forgotten about. It's still three days play to go but it was a big step forward for us to get back into this Test match from a very worrying start.

Despite our bowling efforts, Brad Haddin deserves a big shout out for his determination. He's fought for us on a number of occasions with the bat and this was built for him. It was sad to see him fall short of a century through a run out but his effort was massive in the context of where this game may be headed. I was proud to see Brad's output.

With a score far from par and short of 300 it was perhaps worrying, but as I wrote yesterday, we still had to bowl (with our bowling being our definite strength), we had to bat again, it was still a Test match with a story to be written. For this reason pessimism kills me when people start bagging the team. Instant gratification? A lack of support or belief? I am not sure but it makes the success so much sweeter when you back your team to come back from a dire situation.

Mitchell Johnson batted in the first innings as he did so during his glorious run in 2008/09. I noted his confidence reminded me of that era and was hoping he'd bring it with the ball. He did. It was a bit loose at first and England made so quick runs off him but once Alastair Cook was on his way after a total beauty from my boy Ryan Harris, it was all about Mitch becoming the spearhead of our attack.

Short, fast, brutal bowling spells were delivered and with rhythm became contagious to watch. He worked over England's main batsmen as a man on a mission. It's early days in this series but instead of waiting for this to occur a few Tests down the road Mitch delivered now, when the team needed it. In his wake our bowling attack followed and complemented him with excellent results.

I noted the definite confidence and form in David Warner's first innings, and he's delivering in his second stand. Steven Smith looked good, and Chris Rogers is bound to deliver runs for us as he's found steadiness for Victoria already in the season. It's taken shape quicker than I expected, which was made to look daft given Michael Clarke and George Bailey being dismissed for single figures, as well as Shane Watson not going on from a start. It's easy to overlook these small signs but I noticed them and will boldly declare my belief in these boys. It's game on and Mitchell Johnson came to the show earlier than expected.

On the back of Mitchell's demolition mission, it was Ryan Harris' efforts that captured my imagination. His delivery to remove Cook was the ball of the innings for me. The perfect delivery to a left hander with a new ball, hanging in the corridor of uncertainty. Some nip off the seam probably helped a tough too. Sheer poetry.

Ryan Harris to Cook. The ball with the black circle marks how he
tightened the line to bring about the perfect delivery to find the faint edge
against a left handed opener. Brilliant. Courtesy: ESPN Crininfo Hawk-eye.

While Ryan continued to steam in, Peter Siddle built the pressure and deserved one wicket in the end. He nearly had Kevin Pietersen but dropped a caught and bowled chance. He didn't pay the price for it but it's those chances the guys know could make one hell of a difference.

Nathan Lyon contributed and claimed two wickets of a couple batsmen who can inflict some serious damage on their day. The short leg came into play as Michael Clarke set an attacking field. With a defensive mindset it worked in our favour with Nathan getting the Gabba crowd right behind him. It was encouraging to see Nathan get a few to grip well and turn - border line rip - off the track.

Our fielding was also of very high standards and is another area of our cricket which has dipped and cost us dearly.

The batting hasn't been splendid from both sides, but our bowling has hopefully dealt a blow to England's confidence and it's all up to our batsmen now to keep that attack. They've disappointed for some time now but this group all have enough skill and ability to keep it together as we look to secure this match in a position that to have so early on in an Ashes series is nothing but a blessing. It's just too good to let slip and it's all up to the batsmen as, once again, our bowlers delivered with world class quality. A few poor dismissals on England's behalf but 10 wickets is 10 wickets.

As I did so before this series I have no expectations. The same stands for day 3. All I will say is back the Baggy Greens, cheer loudly and proudly and hopefully we can put England out of the match tomorrow. Mental strength is everything now as we have not been in this position so early in an Ashes series for a long time now. 2009 in fact.

Welcome to The Baggy Green Blog!
Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
To comment on this article, click on the 'Comments' tag at the end of the article.



Anonymous said...

Harris being so solid is really important for Johnson as Rhino is the real attack leader. Johnson will know this and it should relax him and enable Clarke to use him in ways he is suited to and not in ways he isn't. I hope Harris stays fit as it could be the making of Johnson.


Ian said...

Hi Lou, awesome to hear from you again! Hope you are well.

It's a strong and accurate point you make. I think the problem for Mitch a while ago is even when playing with Ryano he was finding his way into the Australian team, which was in chaos. It was every man for himself. Now Ryano is sure of his role, on top of his skills and is naturally the leader. Mitch can work off the pressure and accuracy of Ryano and Sids effectively, even if erratic. Early days but we're playing positive cricket.