Despite an improved Australian bowling attack, the English all but nailed the sorry Aussie coffin.
Peter Siddle carried the Australian bowling brigade with admirable support from the wicketless Hilfenhaus and Harris. Siddle bowled a disciplined line with controlled aggression. Despite the fact that his wicket celebrations resembled more of a Collingwood footballer kicking a bag of 5 on Grand Final day, than a tired cricketer whose team was trailing beyond 200, he was still impressive. Siddle was rewarded early for a patient line outside off-stump by dismissing the stubborn opening pair of Strauss and Cook with two beauties of deliveries. Cook was caught prodding at a delivery that managed to just move a fraction. Strauss soon followed his partner when he received a brutal delivery that climbed sharply on his body. For a brief period, Siddle brought much needed energy and excitement to a starved MCG crowd. His chest pumping celebrations lifted a sombre team spirit.
Yet, as the day drifted, so did the contest. Pietersen crafted a comfortable half century before succumbing to another Siddle delivery. Paul Collingwood went against his name-sake by failing on the MCG and Bell soon followed. Both played two extravagant hooks off Johnson that was swallowed by Siddle in the deep. Johnson managed to snare two wickets but was at his eratic worst. If the ball doesn’t swing, Johnson is too easily picked off.
Trott reached his second test century of the series with a fine display of patient stroke play. Trott whipped the balls that strayed on his pads and dispatched the deliveries that offered width. In the last session, Trott and Prior cashed in on the circumstances. Australia accepted their overwhelming and doomed position while the English pair feasted on Australia’s realisation.
Today re-inforced a glaring problem in the Australian lineup. The bowlers lack class but not application while, the batsman lack application and at the moment, class.
Earlier in the day, Ricky Ponting’s frustration exploded in a one-way verbal exchange between he and the umpires. Following a reversed decision by the third umpire that went against the Australians, Ricky sent his displeasure blatantly known to Pietersen, the umpires and the Melbourne crowd. The Australian captain’s actions were childish, disrespectful and pathetic. He ignored the ethics of the game by continuing to whinge to the umpires. An appropriate punishment should be dealt for the immature act. Ponting’s heated actions showed a terrible distain towards an umpire’s authority. The intense scrutiny Ponting is under is overwhelming and sometimes unfair. He let his emotions overcome him as the reality may have finally set in- a third Ashes defeat.