Ashes 2nd Test Day 1: England bat well on flat Adelaide pitch

The Ashes contest is still very much alive as we witnessed a day of tightly fought Test cricket on Day 1. England reached 3 for 266 by stumps and have the upperhand with Collingwood (98) and Pietersen (60) still at the crease. The day started badly for Australia. England won the toss then we had to listen to Guy Sebastion butcher the Australian anthem. Cook and Strauss batted out the first hour easily on a flat pitch as Adelaide lived up to its reputation as a batsman's paradise. It was difficult to see where the wickets would come from.

However, first over after the drinks break, Strauss miscued Stuart Clark to mid-wicket. His dismissal seems to upset Cook's concentration as he fell soon afterwards, caught behind off Clark. It was a wicket where the batsmen got themselves out and Strauss will be kicking himself - this is the third innings in a row where the English openers got a start then threw their wickets away. As for Stuart Clark, he's already taken 30 wickets in his 5 Tests which is a fantastic strike rate. Earlier in the summer, I endorsed Mitchell Johnson over the Glenn McGrath clone but since the Aussie selectors elected to "send in the clones", I've decided to jump on the Clark bandwagon. It puzzles me why Ponting seemed to prefer Michael Clarke's dibbly dobblies to Stuart Clark's penetrating seamers today - the similarities in surname is no excuse.

Bell looked all at sea against Warne who was getting bounce and spin in the first session (12th man Panesar would've murdered us in the 4th innings). The pressure built up as more close-in fielders moved in, like flies gathering on rancid meat. Nevertheless, Bell managed to survive and England had the better of the second session, compiling 86 runs with no wickets. England's pre-match talk was about playing positive and aggressive. Instead, the first two sessions saw dour, grafting batting that would've had Geoff Boycott and Bill Lawry nodding their heads with approval, muttering about "old fashioned Test cricket".

Early in the third session, Bell hit Lee for several boundaries and in a flush of excitement, skied a pull shot that went straight up into the air. Brett Lee called for it but that didn't stop Justin Langer from nearly shoulder charging him out of the way as the ball came down. I think the Aussie fielding coach needs to teach our boys how to stop running into each other on the field. Bell's dismissal brought Pietersen and Collingwood together and they dominated for the rest of the day. Warne had no answers against Pietersen (short of pegging the ball at him) and even bowling around the wicket had little effect in stemming the runs. I haven't seen a batsmen own the pitch in such a manner since Viv Richards - it's like Warne dominating one of his bunnies Daryll Cullinan style but the other way around. Entertaining but disturbing from an Aussie point of view and I hope Buchanan's brain trust can devise a strategy to neutralise him.

So England ended the day only 3 wickets down. They didn't score 400 like Day 1 at Edgbaston but they still batted through 3 sessions with plenty of runs to come and two in-form batsmen at the crease. I have mixed feelings about this. We all want a contest but I was quite prepared to settle with a one-way Australian victory. Let's hope the Aussie bowlers rally tomorrow morning and more importantly, our batsmen put on a big first innings total afterwards.
Posted by JC on Fri 1 Dec 15 comments
Honours pretty even on Day 1 I thought JC. Tomorrow looms as probably the most important day of the series. Had the Poms finished at 3 or 4 for 350ish I'd have given them the day. But the slow scoring early on left them well short of a commanding position. It was a crap Day 1 wicket; I'd have seen through the first session if not for the cane and guide dog! Ponting's captaincy does leave me scratching my head at times. Stuart Clark's number of overs as against Michael Clarke's a case in point. With Stuart Clark I think selectors can ink in his name on team sheets now. Brett Lee's should be pencilled in, very lightly.
Posted by Dan Tas on 2006-12-01 22:47:31
Now is my time to say " See I told you".They could have shut England by innings defeat and lots of mental scars , but Ponting chose not too, gave the Pom batters the much needed confidence , and that confidence gave them to win "day 1 of test 2" :-(.
Posted by Unsui on 2006-12-01 23:09:15
I doubt today would've ended up much different if Ponting had enforced the follow on in Brisbane. England's second innings would've happened in much the same batting conditions and Pietersen and Collingwood would've likely batted themselves into form either way. England were always going to come back hard in the 2nd Test. The true test will be how Australia bats in their 1st innings.
Posted by JC on 2006-12-01 23:41:15
I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Unsui. The two menacing chaps at the crease were awful 1st innings in Brisbane and batted themselves into form in the 2nd innings there. If Ponting was trying to please the sponsors by putting them in last then it was very short-sighted. Have a look at some of the early 80s footage of grounds during test matches. That's what happens to teams that can't dominate the game. Cricket crowds only like close games if they win. I will not be renewing my cable subscription if Australia lose this series.
Posted by TA on 2006-12-02 01:22:40
Test Match is real beauty of Cricket, One day has really corrupted the "Royal Game" to no ends.. and pyschological factor, strategy that contribute to the beauty of game , have gone and in we have biomechanics, and laptop a$$*# and this is what we have a captain who is totally imbecile as a captain. You need to think not only of winning the battle ( session/game) but the war ( Series/Ashes). If you revere the ashes , then you need to plan your strategy accordingly. Reading works of Lao Tszu and Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior is different , and thinking like one is different :)
Posted by Unsui on 2006-12-02 02:33:23
I don't think Ponting decision to not follow made any read difference.

I did wonder all day why Stuart didn't bowl more.

Personally my opinion was prevent the English from getting more than 300 on a flat wicket was pretty impressive.

I thought Lee looked a bit better with the 2nd new ball. But that could just be me.
Posted by Andrew on 2006-12-02 03:06:29
You're reading too much into what happened in the 1st Test. The flat pitch at Adelaide had a lot more to do with England's batting than what happened in Brisbane.
Posted by JC on 2006-12-02 10:34:50
completely off the topic...but i totally agree with JC about the national athem, why can't they just sing it normally, so we can all sing along?
Posted by Thursday Next on 2006-12-02 11:11:54
Maybe JC, let's see how the Aussies go in their first innings. I think this is a bit more than a good Adelaide batting wicket.
Posted by TA on 2006-12-02 12:59:28
I will be watching Australia's first inning anxiously. It could be two hard days in the field will take its toll on our batsmen similar to England in the 1st Test. However, if Australia go on to make 400+ and the game ambles onto a draw (as I predicted before the game), curator Les Burdett will get universally criticised for delivering a road for a Test pitch. Time will tell.
Posted by JC on 2006-12-02 16:18:37
Re Thursday Next's comment on the national anthem, I don't mind having a singer lead us in the anthem. But first of all, they have to learn the words. Second, they have to sing in time with the music. <Richie Benaud voice>Pretty poor effort, that<Richie Benaud voice>
Posted by JC on 2006-12-02 16:23:12

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