14 December 2013

The Ashes, 3rd Test, day 2

The Ashes, 3rd Test, day 2, Perth

Australia won the toss and elected to bat and lead by 205 runs.

AUS 1st innings: 385 all out from 103.3 overs.

Steven Smith 111*, David Warner 60, Brad Haddin 55, Mitchell Johnson 39.
Stuart Broad 3-100, James Anderson 2-60
ENG 1st innings: 4/180 after 68.0 overs

Alastair Cook 72, Michael Carberry 43
Ryan Harris 1-26

Verdict: Despite England's reasonably quick fire effort this morning to see us add just 59 runs for the loss of our final four wickets, they went from an aggressive approach with their top order to a complete turnaround in approach. They went into a defensive mode which our bowlers orchestrated perfectly with solid discipline and first class fielding, once again.

With England losing the big wickets of skipper Alastair Cook (in his 100th Test like Clarke) and Kevin Pietersen (for the 10th time to Peter Siddle), the day has probably edged in our favour, as has the Test. We also followed a good over rate, unlike England.

Play: We had some luck for the day. The first involving the dismissal of Michael Carberry, who edged an attempted leave against the bowling of Ryan Harris onto his stumps. It was a case of poor judgement from a batsman who has looked one of the best for the English thus far in the series, as Ryano came from around the stumps to the left handed batsman.

Ryano's discipline and constant probing outside of off proved to be a key strategy in our execution today. He didn't get enough reward for his efforts, in my opinion. I hope to see him really show up tomorrow as I did tip him a vital player in this Test with all the focus heavily on Mitchell Johnson. All the bowlers are working together superbly.

The second incident of possible "luck" was a more controversial moment, seeing Joe Root make use of the DRS after being given out by Marais Erasmus off the bowling of Shane Watson. Our boys went up for the appeal as a caught behind, which Root immediately reviewed. Below is my view on the matter as posted to the Baggy Green Blog Facebook page. I don't feel like repeating it all.

: Just got home in time to see Joe Roots dismissal. 

A part of me had a laugh as it is payback for the shockers we had to endure in England (Khawaja, Rogers), but essentially there is a logical reason as to why Root was given out and it's only fair to give a reasonable outlook on the matter. 

1) Marais Erasmus gave him out. Umpires decision initially.

2) Hotspot is not the only means on inspecting an edge. Snicko is there too and indicated a faint edge with the bat away from the bat. Given the faint edge, hot spot could not have picked up enough friction between leather and willow, plus snicko thrown in could go against Root with that tool to search for evidence of an edge. 

3) Finally, take Erasmus giving it out and the snicko edge, it gives the umpire reason to say, "on your way son". 

Had Erasmus given it not out, then it would have been in Root's favour, possibly. The third umpire has his in ear mic to hear the sound and they called it out.

Following Roots dismissal, Kevin Pietersen looked like a walking wicket, despite a camouflaged attempt at an unusual, seriously defensive approach. His natural instinct could not be contained and he eventually, after 59 deliveries to score just 19 runs, attempted to play a front foot pull shot (or a lunge of sorts) against the bowling of a possessed-like Peter Siddle.

The ball sailed high, as he mishit and misjudged the shot, and Mitchell Johnson took one hell of a beauty of a catch at mid-on. It was just a spectacular piece of fielding, with a fine technique coming down from quite a height to grab the ball as it was seeming destined to fly beyond his reach. It was a huge moment as Peter Siddle had his bunny for the 10th time, now level with his 10 dismissals of Matt Prior - England's wicket keeper.

His antics and sheer madness to get KP's wicket was a crazy scene and both my energy and victory rage went to the next level with that moment. Siddle at his best!

Alastair Cook flashed a delivery wide of off stump against the bowling of Nathan Lyon and somewhat wrecked what had been an innings full of fight. He managed 72 runs before falling victim to a diving effort from David Warner at backward point. A little dance took place, while Cook would have wrestled with himself in his mind at his downfall.

Ian Bell and Ben Stokes continued this defensive mode with a few risks here and there, but they survived to stumps and will see a massive task come their way tomorrow. Our bowlers will be refreshed. I just hope more people show up at the WACA after a pretty bleak attendance for day two, on a Saturday at that as well.

Earlier in the day Steven Smith, who scored a possible career defining century on day 1, was dismissed for 111, with Mitchell Johnson falling on his overnight score of 39. There was some resistance from our tail, consisting of Peter Siddle (21), Ryan Harris (12), and Nathan Lyon (17*) as they added 47 runs to just make sure England didn't leave the field with too much of a hop in their stride.

We still have a lead of 205 runs, with 6 English wickets to make our own, three days play remaining with good, hot weather ahead.

I am quite content with the way we wrapped up the day. Tomorrow's first session is a big one to keep an eye on, and I am confident with our boys refreshed and a clear game plan laid out, we can roll England. Discipline needs to resume and our fielding standards, if unchanged, will set some high intensity.

Roll in the big guns tomorrow, we got an urn to try and win back here. And we are in a bloody good position to go for it. Come on Australia!
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