16 December 2013

The Ashes, 3rd Test, day 4

The Ashes, 3rd Test, day 4, Perth

Australia won the toss and elected to bat. England require 253 runs with 5 wickets in hand, 1 day of play remaining.

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:
251 all out after 88.0 overs

Alastair Cook 72, Michael Carberry 43
Ryan Harris 3-48, Peter Siddle 3-36, Mitchell Johnson 2-62

AUS 2nd innings:
6/369 from 87.0 overs
David Warner 112, Shane Watson 103, Chris Rogers 54, George Bailey 39*
Tim Bresnan 2-53

ENG 2nd innings:
5/251 from 67.0 overs

Ben Stokes 72*, Ian Bell 60, Kevin Pietersen 45
Shane Watson 1-31

We require a possible 4 wickets to win back the urn tomorrow on 17 December 2013. If Stuart Broad decides to do a Graeme Smith we will need 5. Our bowlers looked fried this afternoon, so a good rest and the ultimate reality that tomorrow these guys could win us back that urn should be enough for them to bowl like their lives depend on it.

I have waited since 2009 to live this moment after we lost the urn to England. I have supported the boys through some of the lowest lows in Australian crickets modern history and it will be an extra special feeling to see us win tomorrow and be proud to have documented that support right here on this site since 2008.

We lead by 253 runs. Discipline and strong comradery will hopefully see us snuff England.
Shane Watson needed to arrive at the Ashes with the bat in hand. He made a half-century at the Adelaide Oval with extreme patience. At the WACA he went into limited overs mode and it was a pretty brutal display. I commented how the spirit of Adam Gilchrist from 2006/07 was lurking around and took over David Warner yesterday. It would seem it took a hold of Watto today.

This century was his 2nd versus England, his 4th in his Test career. It could have been one of many but Watto has had issues in converting. However, those at the WACA were treated to strong power hitting and a reminder why it is hard to leave Shane Watson out of a starting XI. It is frustrating his raw talent has never been truly delivered in his all-rounder capacity (owed to injury too), but when you see it, it is very special to watch.

His dismissal was very comical after he skied a delivery off Tim Bresnan's bowling. Ian Bell spilled an easy chance just off the track around the region of silly mid-off, walked away livid with himself, only for Bresnan to pick up the ball and throw down the stumps at the non-strikers end. Watto was convinced Bell would catch him out and starting walking off the ground. When Bell dropped it he turned his back oblivious to the fact Watto was now in line for a new form of dismissal in the moment - a run out. A comedy of errors and there was a tender moment between Bell and Bresnan. Reminded me of AB and Big Merv.

George Bailey had some fun of his own.

With the declaration around the corner he brought in some limited overs destruction as he smashed James Anderson for 28 runs. This leveled the record for most runs in an over in Test cricket. The record is held by the legend Brian Charles Lara. George was put in the side based on first class experience (not necessarily his stats which aren't jaw dropping) but also his strong confidence and power hitting in India a while ago. He has brought something to the table and the crowds were entertained one time!

The declaration came and England were set 504 to win.

Ryan Harris has looked a bit flat at times, but given his injury issues he's fighting like a trooper for us and I am so proud of him. His delivery to remove Alastair Cook was simply enough as far as I am concerned. A ball that darted into the left hander off a good length just clipped Cook's off stump and we had a prize scalp. It was Cook's first golden duck facing the first ball of an innings and it was the perfect start.

There was some frustrating resistance from England though, don't get me wrong.

Our bowlers have had to work bloody hard in partnerships to keep fighting. In that heat and getting that sort of undesired resistance from an opposition only now starting to show up would result in fatigue for any bowler. Still, our fielding was absolutely first class gold and it just ensured our intensity was burning throughout.

The new ball will come our way in 13 overs if England hold out. This should bring Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson into the game. Resistance will be futile when that happens one would think, also looking at that WACA surface.

Each wicket that came was worked for and when we had the wicket of Kevin Pietersen I was ecstatic - what a catch at long on by Ryano! When we removed Ian Bell - the big wicket - I roared in a way my vocal abilities have never experienced. It was a bellow from the depths of years of frustration and annoyance at the state of affairs our team has had to endure, amidst some really special highs as well. It was a wicket closer to victory and to see Peter Siddle get it was massive, given he has pretty much been around through many of these struggles.

In all honesty there is not much else I want to write about right now. All I want to visualise right now is us getting those final wickets and having the urn back in our grasp, to see my team celebrate, united. We have outplayed England. It's our time. I don't want a fight from them, I am past that point now. 

That is what I want to write about. Everything over the last four days gets hidden in the mist. Tomorrow is the only day that matters now. When complete we can hopefully look back on everything else.


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