The Ashes 2015 – Second Test, Day Two: As Stevie as can be

Amidst all of the modernised bats and reduced boundaries, the classical innings of flair and beauty can still be produced. Thankfully, Steve Smith showed just how glorious a fantastic effort of batsmanship can be on day two, with his bowling compatriots demonstrating how to deftly remove high order batsmen.

The glowing sunshine that the cricketing world had all too easily become accustomed too was out again, as the atmosphere of the crowd set up a magnificent Saturday of cricket, if you were an Australian enthusiast.

Smith and Rodgers trotted out to their home for the past day, after day one’s counterattack that ended England’s hopes of winning the match. Both appeared to be eager to attack the day with vigour, with fond memories being harboured after the first day’s blistering effort.

Unfortunately for Rodgers, he was bounced and struck on the first ball of the day by Anderson, with the steady and traditional opening batsman seeming to be rattled after falling to Broad for a gritty yet delightful 173.

Captain Clarke arrived and departed in the space of 50 minutes, as an uncertain and restrained pull shot flying straight to square leg’s open palms. Throughout the day, the rest of the Australian line up, other than Nevill, played an ignored second fiddle role before falling promptly. Fortunately for them, the master that is Steve Smith may have redirected the attention of failures, with his divine innings catapulting Australia to a position in the match that they don’t look like relinquishing.

Many marvellous drives and cuts intermingled with deft flicks and powerful pulls to produce numerous boundaries in what was an accumulating yet enthralling innings of complete control. Even the quick stays of Voges and Marsh didn’t faze him, with the enterprising and inventive Smith falling well into the day after smacking an unbelievable 215 off 346 balls.

With Nevill’s lovely knock of 45 complimenting the scoreboard nicely, the surge for quick runs ended with the removal of Johnson, with Captain Clarke declaring his side’s first batting innings after disposing the English bowlers for 566 fantastic runs. With such a wonderful start, the worrying yet beleaguered wolf pack that makes up Australia’s bowling line up needed to fire.

And fire they did, with Starc handing Nevill his first test match catch on the second ball, as a loose Lyth guided an edge straight into the nervous keeper’s gloves. Ballance then came out to the cheers and well-wishes of many Englishman from the Long Room, as a rare and unexpected fast start finally ended with his score on 23, with Johnson producing a sensational delivery to up root the off stump. After a disappointing first innings in Cardiff, Johnson bounced back into form with some searing pace being accompanied by unnerving accuracy.

Hazlewood continued his trend of pin point accuracy and hinging variations, as Bell’s slump was furthered by the ball of the day, with the seam movement making Bell play across the line to a ball that crashed into his off peg.

Root wandered to the crease, as his opposition batsman in Smith showing him up. The Yorkshire batsman couldn’t re produce his Wales heroics, with his stay at the crease being as short as Johnson’s bowling.

In an uncanny coincidence, Johnson was the bowler that gifted him his departure, as the left arm slinger got Root to nick off early on for a disappointing 1.

From then on, England attempted to steady the ship. Unfortunately for them, the ship seemed to be the ever collapsing Titanic, as Cook uncertainty contrasted Stokes’ boldness in what was a precarious situation that the English found themselves in at the close of the day’s play.

Final message: Australia in control, England in some deep trouble. Can England right the ship on day three, or will the Aussies torch the Poms and create some more ashes?

Stumps- Day 2
Australia 8/566 declared (149 overs)
Smith 215
Rodgers 173
Nevill 45

Broad 4/83 (27)
Root 2/55 (12)

England 4/85 (29 overs)
Stokes 38*
Ballance 23
Cook 21*

Johnson 2 wickets
Starc 1
Hazlewood 1

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