The Ashes 2015 – Second Test, Day 4: ‘This is…God’

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Throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, the expected scoreline always favoured Australia. Before the time of ’89, the little urn always seemed to be in the hands of the Poms.

For so many years, the momentum of Ashes cricket had resembled a slow swinging pendulum, with a substantial amount of weight being needed to shift the tide and reinstate one nation’s winnings. That is, until the year of 2005, where the usual trend was bucked in an enormous way that still affects modern day Ashes cricket.

Since that amazing series of remarkable test match cricket, the urn has racked up more Frequent Flyer points than Bronwyn Bishop, as it has been travelling back and forth between the two nations like an intense Olympic ping pong final.

After ’05 was the rout of ‘06/’07, with the urn nesting comfortably in the legendary bosom of Australian cricket until the year of ’09, as the hosts ultimately reinstated their cricketing dominance over the English series and the following Australian summer. The trend of long reigns at the helm of the mighty urn seemed to be restarting, with English cricket taking home the 2013 series to make it three on the trot, only for a fired up Australia full of guns and heavy metal to snatch back the Ashes in what was a pathetic street fight between a fox and a rabbit.

Then, with the predicted scoreline of an Australian victory being shattered like a weak pane of glass in the first watershed Test in Cardiff, the unpredictability that earmarks recent Ashes history loomed over the heads of both teams.

But alas, the good old days of England and Australia rivalry seems to be heading back to its old tradition, with the barnstorming cricket that is familiar to the bullying Aussies returning to them in a sensational way at the Lord’s test match.

With the fourth and last day beginning with a stumble and a sight of dizziness for the Aussies, Chris Rogers promptly retired to recover, as the Aussies brushed themselves off to post a demanding fourth innings total for the English to reach. With the veteran Aussie opener relaxing on the balcony, his compatriots seemed to fill up with confidence after spotting their teammate showing his recovery.

The confidence brimmed into a mood of predatory savageness, with Starc removing Lyth for an unsteady 7 not long after the main break. This uplifting wicket followed the streaky yet beautiful stroke play of Warner and Smith before lunch, as the two both made over 50 to build a lead of 508. This wonderful bursting out of the blocks was accompanied by Mitch Marsh’s delightful six hitting ability, with the young all-rounder showing his extraordinary capability with both the willow and the leather in this test match.

With the Poms looking shaky after Lyth’s early exit, Johnson started pacing through his vaunted run up to deftly remove Cook, with Nevill snaring the second of his four catches for the innings, as he collected a terrific seven catches and 45 runs over his first test match.

The Englishmen were left reeling at 2-23, with a nightmare starting to occur when Marsh produced a jaffa to remove Ballance, as the Poms seemed to lose their balance like Rogers earlier on in the day. Unfortunately for England, this was a stumble that they would never recover from, as Lyon removed Bell cheaply to completely tear the floodgates open.

In between this, Stokes had embarrassingly been removed for a duck by an on target Johnson, with the schoolboy mistake of not grounding one’s bat ruining Stokes’ match in what was a critical time.

All of these mistakes proved to be costly, with the Poms teetering at 6-64 after Johnson bowled as fearsomely as he ever has, with the ‘unresponsive’ pitch still managing to produce magnificent bounce and carry, thanks to the continuing high pace flinging of the Duke from the slinging arm of the moustached master.

The havoc didn’t stop, as Johnson could almost appear to be Freddie Krueger in the dim London light after strangling Ali’s innings to only three balls and no runs. For England, they could finally point at the moustached destroyer and utter the famous Freddy quote, ‘This is… God,’ for Johnson had swooped in yet again and reopened 2013/14 stitches that had just started to heal.

A break was finally taken by Krueger/Johnson, as the England tail end found a chance to pile on a quick burst of 37 runs before Lyon wore down Broad in a way that would please both Australian and off spin fans.

After a long time of blocking and hanging around without a purpose, Root’s 2013/14 Australian summer re-enactment was finished by a swift removal of his pegs by Hazlewood. With only one wicket left and not much meaning behind sticking around, Hazlewood backed up to deliver the fatal blow that brought down the burning English castle. If Johnson’s destructive early wickets were the initial blows that knocked a victim to the ground, Hazlewood’s finishing blows were like the evil kicks to the stomach that takes all of the wind out of a person.

The completely robotic and mindless breaking down of England in under four days was proven even more extraordinary by the results of the First Test, as the return of Smith’s golden form, with Johnson’s helping hand with the ball, contributing largely to a test dominated by the bullied in the English media. Add the old timer in Rogers and you have a firing set up of Australian cricketers who have gone from dismantled to the dismantler in just over a week.

In many ways, cricket, especially the Ashes format, seems to produce many remarkable occurrences every time the two fierce rivals meet.

It may not be the sustained form of dominance from the good old days, but boy is this current version of Ashes cricket an exciting rollercoaster for the keen cricket watcher.

Stumps- Day 4
Australia- 2/254 declared (49 overs)
Warner 83
Smith 58
Rogers 49 retired ill

Ali- 2/78 (16)

England- 103 all out (37 overs)
Broad 25
Root 17
Ballance 14

Johnson- 3/27 (10)
Hazlewood- 2/20 (8)
Lyon- 2/27 (9)

Australia wins by 405 runs.
Series level at 1-1 after two matches.
Man of the Match: Steve Smith

Comments

  1. Dave Brown says:

    Good stuff, Shaun. A team will need to win a test batting second in this series to convince me they deserve it. Lyon is on the verge of some outstanding form, the next test could be his if he gets enough bowling

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