Second Test: Day One

Australia plummeted to a mere 245 on a beautiful Adelaide batting strip. England bowlers, particularly Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann, exposed Australian batsmen’s technical flaws. Simon Katich was run out by a neat piece of fielding by Trott which suddenly sparked a dramatic collapse. Watson and Katich have batted together for a lengthy 18 months, yet, they have failed to consolidate an understanding between each other in regard to running between the wickets. Then, the often inspiring Ricky Ponting, came, saw… and went out first ball, attempting to stab at the swinging ball. The skipper is renowned for his hesitant and nervous starts, and the best bowler in the series, Jimmy Anderson, exposed his tendency to strangle his bat and go searching for the ball. With no surprise, Ponting’s cheap dismissal exposed Australia’s struggling middle order. The supposed future Australian Captain, Michael Clarke, tried to play an Anderson delivery way too far in-front of his pads and was caught behind by Swann. Clarke is another major concern for Ponting. His old flaws in his game are creeping back in- he is considerably loose outside off-stump. The most worrying aspect for Punta is that Clarke’s mind doesn’t seem to be on the job. In the field, Clarke is dropping catches and isn’t looking as sharp in the field as he normally is. And finally, Pup is seeing the ball out in the middle like a golf ball. As talented as Clarke is, he joins Marcus North as the consumate battler in the middle order. Even if his poor form continues in the series, the selectors kindly give a lengthy year or two for a batsman to find his form. Players like Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Marcus North and even Mike Hussey have all enjoyed such generous leniency.

Form is temporary. Class is permanent. In a difficult day for Australia, Mike Hussey reminded the world and more significantly the Poms, that he still has within himself to perform at the elite level. Like Hussey did when he first bursted onto the international scene, he rescued Australia from an embarrassing first innings total to a somewhat respectable score. Despite Hussey’s courageous and persistent efforts England are in an acutely dominant position heading into day two. On one of the finest batting strips in the world, England should hope to play accordingly on a friendly wicket by posting 500.

The first session on day two will be marked as the most crucial session of the match. If Australia can snare four wickets by lunch then Ricky’s men are back in the contest. However, with a working class bowling attack of Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger, the English should nearly make it impossible for Australia to win the second Test by reaching lunch with only one or two wickets down. Expect Ricky to be chewing on his finger nails at a rapid rate if early wickets aren’t taken.

The Australians are wounded deeply, perhaps they are a divided team. Katich looked on for much of the afternoon in isolation after a contribution of zero, and the Australian Captain had a stressful and nervous look about him while he was glaring glumly onto the field. The roles are reversed. Strauss’ men have the bullish and self-assured look, while, the Australian unity and confidence seems fractured and false. All possible series predictions will be answered by 6pm tomorrow afternoon.

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