The Ashes 2015 – First Test, Day 3: Wickets tumble in a batsman’s test

Just like a poorly made movie, the title of this piece could change around easily and still convey the same message. The current headline or, “Watson’s form mimics the Aussies,” are both current representations of the Australian teams luck and form, as they slid behind in a tight and heated day of test match cricket.

After the amazement of clear skies and England’s return to good form on day two, identical weather was produced, as the clouds floated away from Sophia Gardens, just like Australia’s chances.

The great white hope for Australia in Shane Watson trudged out to the middle like he just punted all of his money on a horse with one leg, with ‘Atlas’ being a suitable nickname for the burly all-rounder, due to the appearance of the weight of the world being firmly wedged on his hefty shoulders. Only overs later and the same trudged occurred again, albeit this one was back to the dressing room, where he looked ready to vent his dissatisfaction towards the Decision Review System after yet again falling foul of it.

The night watchman in Nathan Lyon decided to follow in his teammates footsteps, as he didn’t provide much resistance before being dismissed in similar fashion to Watson, although the off spinner’s call of leg before was slightly more obvious than his predecessors.

From being 5-264 overnight, the Aussies had slumped to 7-265, as Haddin and Johnson were left to produce another fabulous counter attacking partnership à la Brisbane 2013. The possibility of the rear guard reply seemed to rise each boundary struck by Haddin and Johnson, as the streaky shots finally started to intermingle with the free flowing strokes that both are known to produce.

That was, until James Anderson gleefully accepted the brand new Duke and decided to make it swing at right angles through the air, as the delightful mix of in swingers and out swingers made the Aussie wicket keeper sweat, ‘Like a gypsy with a mortgage,’ as Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins would put it. Finally it proved to be all too much for Haddin, as combined with Broad’s steepling bounce and searing pace, he produced more nicks then a Greek café. Buttler eventually accepted one of them from behind the wickets, as Haddin was left to depart for a defiant yet underwhelming 22.

With Australia just passing 300 at the time of Haddin’s demise, Johnson’s only stuck around with Starc for three more balls, as his crisp flick straight to Ballance at mid-wicket was an ideal representation of Mitch’s luck throughout the test match.

In the end, the lower order couldn’t recreate their pinch hitting that proved so successful in the last Ashes series, as Broad and Anderson ran through the Aussies to remove them for a disappointing and worrying 308. In the end, the two front liners of the English attack proved to be the most successful, with Anderson chiming in with three scalps, while Broad shared the load with Ali and Wood with two wickets apiece.

Cook and Lyth reemerged from the dressing rooms not too long before the lunch break in an entirely different position then they had encountered just two days ago. The majority of the pressure had been lifted from their shoulders and dumped onto the Aussies backs like a sack full of wet sand, as both batsmen had the comfort and freedom to play their strokes. Johnson took the new ball in place of the injury riddled Starc, as he continued to find no luck whatsoever.

With the Poms knowing that they just needed to pass 200 to set a competitive fourth innings total on an ever deteriorating pitch, they streaked away at a pacy run rate until Starc defied pain and momentum to remove Cook on the stroke of lunch. Suddenly the Aussies had a scent of English blood and wooden stumps, as they attacked ferociously with more conviction than they had shown throughout the first three days of play. It all came to no avail though, as Lyth and Ballance survived the last couple of overs before the lunch break.

Forty minutes later and the English pair emerged with full stomachs and a relaxed mindset, as they knew that the game was on their terms for the first time in an Ashes series since 2013. Ballance walked back to the dressing rooms before his lunch could digest, as a duck accompanied the food that he had recently consumed for his midday meal.

In came the first innings hero to once again bat the Aussies out of the match. With his sidekick now being Lyth, they took control and piled on the runs, with a quick fifty run stand finally being broken by Lyon, as the larrikin off spinner removed the opener in Lyth, courtesy to a terrific slips catch by Captain Clarke.

When Bell emerged, the pressure was well and truly on, with the mature middle order bat being the only bridge between a blazing mortification to his team’s bottom order. Yet he met the challenges at the coal face with some of his own flames, as he produced a steely barrage that blunted the fiery pace attack that the Aussies possessed.

Yet again Johnson was brought back on to prise an English wicket, but unfortunately for him, he couldn’t buy a wicket even if he was a millionaire shopping at a two dollar shop. Just as the Aussie fans flirted with the thoughts of making him grow his fearful moustache back, he struck, with his first wicket in the series came with a ball that rattled Bell’s pegs. The score was 4-170, and from then on the Australian bowling attack found their fire that had been extinguished by Root and Ballance halfway through day one.

Hazlewood snuck past Root’s steadfast defence when the Yorkshireman was on 60, as Lyon pressured the attacking Buttler into edging one behind to Haddin. The lower order of England turned into a Violet Crumble, as they disintegrated into pieces at the slightest touch of Australian pressure. Starc removed Stokes for the second time in the match, as the red headed Englishman was bowled once again by the struggling yet super Starc.

Five runs later and Lyon forced Broad to sky one, with Johnson backing up and setting up an easy catch to Haddin, with Ali being the victim in this situation. Anderson was the last one to be removed, as his consistent bowling couldn’t be transferred to form with the bat, with Lyon sneaking another wicket through at the death. With the removal of Anderson’s stumps came the end of the day’s play, as the Aussie batsmen were left with the knowledge that scoring 412 over two days would grant them an unlikely and record breaking first test victory over the old enemy.

With the game looking firmly in England’s grasp, who will step up tomorrow? On day one it was Root and Ballance, on day two it was Ali and Rodgers and on day three it was Anderson and Lyon. For Australian fans, we can only hope that tomorrow it is two Aussie batsmen that are the highlighted players, as the end looks nigh. But you never know, as there is still a slight bit of hope in our batsmen to snatch an improbable and undeserving victory.

Stumps- Day Three

Australia 308 all out (84.5 overs)
Rogers 95
Clarke 38
Smith 33
Anderson 3/43 (18.5)
Broad 2/60 (17)

England 289 all out (70.1 overs)
Bell 60
Root 60
Stokes 42
Lyon 4/75 (20.1)
Hazlewood 2/49 (13)

Comments

  1. Merv Beebee says:

    Brilliant report. I watched nearly every ball and this account is very accurate. We have it before us to create history .. and I don’t believe we have the team to do it. Our only saviour is the fickle weather over there … and Zeuks … let’s hope for rain.

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