Ashes 1st Test Day 5 Talking Points from the Boundary

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Do you want to be a Record Breaker?

Records tumbled as Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott mercilessly ground Australia into the dust on day five at The Gabba. Cook’s 235 not out is now the highest individual score in Gabba Tests beating Bradman’s 226 against South Africa in 1931. The unbroken 329 stand is the highest for England in Australia and is also the highest for any wicket at The Gabba: beating Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin’s effort on Saturday – doesn’t that seem a long time ago now? Indeed it is only the second time that two 300+ run stands have occurred in the same test – the other was Pakistan vs India in Lahore in 2006. And Trott now has 300+ stands in successive tests following his 332 partnership with Stuart Broad against Pakistan at Lord’s. Dedication indeed.

Can we play you every week?

The Barmy Army struck up this familiar refrain as the game edged towards the inevitable draw. Trott would probably concur having now hit two second innings hundreds in his two Ashes tests to date. And both have come at vital times – his 119 on debut helped England win the Oval decider in 2009 and unbeaten 135 today confirmed that England had saved the Test. Trott now averages 59 in Test cricket – we bet even he cannot believe that.

They couldn’t catch a cold

If a particularly virulent form of Bird Flu had reached The Gabba in the last two days the Australian Cricket Team would have been immune as they couldn’t seem to catch anything. We’ve never seen such a sloppy performance from an Australian side in the field. Yesterday, we saw Mitchell Johnson drop a sitter, with Peter Siddle and Michael Clarke spilling more difficult chances. Today, Clarke dropped one of the easiest slip chances you will ever see. Even the catch that stuck wasn’t given when the third umpire ruled that there was too much doubt to give Cook out to catch that Ponting looked to have just got his fingers under.

Cook the usurper

Not only did Cook usurp Bradman to hit the highest ever Test score at The Gabba, but he also hit the highest individual score by an England batsman since his fellow Essex and England opener hit 333 against India in 1990. Indeed, it was the highest score by an England batsman against Australia since the late and great Ken Barrington scored 256 at Old Trafford in 1964. Cook’s match aggregate of 302 runs means that he has now scored more runs in this game than he managed in the whole of the 2006/07 series when he hit just 276 runs.

What a difference four years makes

In 2006 at Adelaide, England were 97 runs ahead with nine wickets intact and still managed to lose. Here they were 88 runs ahead with nine wickets standing at the close last night but didn’t even lose a wicket today. That said, the opposition didn’t have Warne, McGrath or Lee this time either.

Australia’s bowling in disarray

The pitch may have been like the runway at nearby Brisbane Airport, but Australia’s bowling was horrendously impotent. Take away a couple of inspired spells from Siddle on the first day and what do you have? Not a lot. The only Australian bowler smiling will be Doug Bollinger, who surely must come in for the hopeless Johnson. Ponting certainly showed his frustration in the way he batted – hitting the ball as hard as he would probably like to hit Johnson et al after this showing.

Player of the day

Cook continued on his merry way to hit the giddy heights of 235 not out – the 6th highest individual score by an Englishman against Australia. So with all due respect to Trott, it’s Cook for this accolade.

Zero of the day

Clarke ran him close for dropping such an easy chance, but for the second successive day it has to be Johnson. If anything he bowled even worse than yesterday with a terrible bouncer to Trott that went miles down the leg side for five wides being particularly damning – see also Zeroes: Mitchell Johnson.

Prospects for Adelaide

More of the same – can anyone see either of these sides taking 20 wickets on as good a batting surface as is likely to be encountered at the Adelaide Oval?

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