Adelaide Test – Day 2: A Dozen Dorothies

 

When Australia’s number eleven Nathan Lyon lifted Graeme Swann high into the stands an hour after tea, Michael Clarke decided that the Poms had suffered enough.

 

Lyon and Harris had plundered 18 from Swann’s last over, giving him the unprepossessing figures of 2-151 from 36 largely ineffectual overs. This is surely not the same spin bowler who tormented us in the last two Ashes series.

 

Jimmy Anderson also appears to have lost his sting and joie de vivre, shoulders noticeably slumping in his later spells today. The pitch may have been road-like and unresponsive, but this only underlined England’s need for their number one striker to set the tone. He did, but it was a D-flat. Anderson’s return for the series after three innings stands at three wickets. Enough said.

 

Clarke called his tailenders in with 570 on the board and 21 overs left in the day to inflict a different kind of torture on the English psyche.

 

And when Mitchell Johnson ripped through Alistair Cook’s hesitant defence in over number three, all signs pointed to a rout. To their credit, though, Michael Carberry and Joe Root dug a trench and bunkered down until stumps. Johnson conceded nine runs from his seven overs, but regularly topped 150kmph on the speed gun. He too is a different bowler from previous campaigns.

 

But the story of the day once again belongs to Australia’s under-rated captain. Clarke notched up his 12th ton since assuming the reins 31 Tests ago. He now has 26 in all, and six at Adelaide.

 

Resuming on 48, he advanced at Panesar’s first ball of the morning, and was fortunate that his top edge just cleared cover. It was his last false shot of the day, and even it produced two runs to bring up his half-century.

 

Undeterred, he kept up the attack on Panesar, coming down the track four times in his next over, and lifting him over mid on during one such expedition for a boundary.

 

Anderson replaced Broad after only three overs at the other end, but Clarke rolled on serenely, picking him off for three boundaries in the space of four overs, the last a glorious cover drive on the up.

 

While Clarke was all grace and timing, his vice captain Brad Haddin opted for a more brutal approach. A big swipe into the bleachers off Swann seemed to get him going, and he reached his half-century by tickling the off-spinner down to fine leg for three runs a few overs later.

 

An ordinary morning got worse for the visitors when Ben Stokes was ruled to have over-stepped after inducing an edge from the Australian wicketkeeper. The two exchanged unpleasantries at the end of the over, forcing Umpire Erasmus to intervene.

 

Two overs later, Clarke turned Stokes into the leg side to bring up his hundred, and the Adelaide faithful stood for him once again.

 

The morning session produced 116 relatively trouble-free runs, and the harvest continued after lunch. Anderson started to find a touch of reverse-swing, but Clarke was humming by now, a stand-to-attention straight drive to bring up Australia’s 400 probably the shot of the day.

 

Channel Nine’s cameras caught coach Darren Lehmann looking relaxed and content in the dressing room. Even Shane Watson was having a laugh, momentarily forgetting the burden it is to be Watto.

 

Broad tried alternating over and around the wicket in three consecutive deliveries, but Clarke eased the last one to the third man boundary to move into the 140s.

 

Stokes finally nabbed his first Test wicket when Clarke’s leading edge was snapped up by Anderson at a short mid wicket. Haddin continued to bludgeon pace and spin alike, and raced through the nineties to register his fourth test ton.

 

After Johnson and Peter Siddle went cheaply, Ryan Harris carved out the kind of quick 50 that tailenders can often produce when an attack is spent.

 

The Aussies racked up 12 sixes in their innings, apparently an Ashes record. Instructively, Clarke did not contribute to that total, preferring in the main to keep the Kookaburra on the carpet.

 

He had once again led the way with a calculated assault on Panesar from the first over, and his scoring wagon wheel showed an even distribution to all corners of Adelaide Oval.

 

Only one team can now win this Test thanks to his efforts, and England faces three more days of trench warfare if it wants to stay only one down in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says

    MOC,

    The scenery today at the Adelaide Oval is extraordinary.

    PJF

  2. Beautifully done, MOC.
    From experience it’s a blissful thing to be free of the burden of being Watto. Hope Watto gets a bit more of that chance.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    MCC well written and spot on , who was that clown who bagged the drop in pitch !

  4. Still do no not like Clarke, but he has to to be one of the most graceful batsman to have played for Australia. He is poetry in motion when he gets going.

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