Ashes 2nd Test Day 2 Talking Points from the Boundary

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Cook serves up another helping of humble pie

Until now there was only one choice as to who was the most famous Cook to land on Australian shores – and here’s a clue it wasn’t Gordon Ramsey. But Alastair Cook seems to be on a one man mission to change this. He picked up where he left on in Brisbane as he continued to plunder runs from a feeble Australian bowling attack. His 15th Test century never looked in doubt and the technical faults that plagued him in the English summer seemed to have vanished into thin air. We apologised to James Anderson yesterdayfor doubting that he could succeed in Australia and we owe one to Cook too for having the temerity to question his place in the side. But for once (or is it twice?) we are happy to be proved emphatically wrong. And on Cook we weren’t the only ones – were we Michael Atherton?

Deja vu for Ponting

Ricky Ponting must have thought he was caught in a nightmarish time warp during Cook and Jonathan Trott’s 2nd wicket partnership of 173 – which extended their unbroken stint at the crease from The Gabba to 502 runs and nearly 10 hours before the latter was eventually out. Some of the names in his bowling attack were different, but the results were the same for Ponting as catches were dropped, the bowling was ineffectual, his left-armer quick (Bollinger this time) was expensive and had poor body language – and Cook, Trott and then KP continued on their merry way. The lowpoint must have been when a decision to give Cook caught behind off Siddle was overturned by the third umpire. As Atherton remarked, that must have been enormously dispiriting for the hapless Aussies. With England effectively 834/3 since the start of their 2nd innings in Brisbane, Jeff Thomson’s assertion that the current Australian attack is the worst for 30 years is looking truer by the day.

King Trott V

Trott continued to lord it over his favourite opponents – he averages over 100 against Australia – and made a lightning start to his innings today with a flurry of flicked and driven boundaries through the off-side.  Trott has developed a regal presence at the crease and now has the 5th highest average ever for those with more than 1000 test runs – see list of best Test averages here. And there were those that doubted he should bat at three.

Strauss’s brain fade

What is it with Andrew Strauss and the third ball of the day? After his misjudgement in the 1st innings at Brisbane, he repeated the trick with a cherry on top to Doug Bollinger’s third delivery this morning. Choosing to leave a ball that hits the top of the stumps was a massive error for a man who otherwise hasn’t put a foot wrong since he landed on Australian soil. But at least it enabled him to put his feet up in the pavilion and enjoy a feast of batting.

Come back Nathan all is forgiven

It takes a lot to make Nathan Hauritz look good, but Xavier Doherty has managed to achieve that. The pitches at Brisbane and now Adelaide may have been good, but one gets the impression that the only way hewill take wickets is if the batsmen give it away. As Shane Warne has observed the Australian selectors are now in a bit of a pickle. Having made the decision to replace Hauritz before the series, should they now go back to him? Or should they opt for the rookie Steves – Smith or O’Keefe? Whatever they do, their selection policy has been irrefutably flawed and has smacked of panic – as evidenced by dispensing with Johnson and Hilfenhaus after Brisbane. Shades of England in the 1990’s?

Player of the day

For the third time in the series it is the relentless run machine Alastair Cook. The way he is going Wally Hammond’s record for an Englishman of 905 runs in an Ashes series (see Adelaide Hero – Wally Hammond) is looking within reach. He is almost halfway there  with 438 runs after only three innings – and he can make further inroads tomorrow.

Zero of the day

After only three balls it looked like Strauss had this one sown up, but as the day unfolded the out of depth Xavier Doherty claimed an unassailable grip on this dubious honour. A spinner is supposed to give you control on a good pitch when the mercury is rising and going at over four runs an over is almost a dereliction of duty. The hapless Australian Selectors share the award for their ridiculous gamble on a bowler with a first-class average of 50.

What happens next?

We predicted before the match that Kevin Pietersen looked set for a big score and having waited for what must seem a week to bat his first test hundred in 17 long months looks within reach. He certainly looked back to his fluent best today. Cook could reach another milestone if he can replicate Hammond’s back to back hundreds at Sydney (251) and Melbourne (200) in the aforementioned 1928/29 series. Another day of pain awaits Australia barring rain.

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  1. Ben Roberts says

    Thankyou Mr Green for a complete look at today’s proceedings. We continue to live this chapter in disappointment as Australian cricket fans.

    Ultimately winning 7 ashes series in a row had to be paid for at some stage to the cricketing deities. England will face this payment too if they manage, oh 6 more series straight ;).

    Not sure the axing of Johnson smacked of panic as well. Pretty confident he has been questioned on form for longer than the past week.

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