Form slump? What form slump?
If you’d waited 21 months to score a Test hundred, you might as well make it a double when you finally reach three figures again. That seemed to be the policy of Kevin Pietersen as he banished all talk about his form to the waste bin with a sparkling 213 not out before Ricky Ponting’s rain dance finally worked. KP looked back to his best technically and the way that he dismissed the Australian bowlers suggested that mix of supreme confidence with a twist of arrogance is back. Certainly, the Aussies will wonder if all the talk of a form slump was for real – KP now averages 60 against them with three hundreds and seven fifties in 14 Tests.
Just one more run, Straussy?
We hope it is just a coincidence but England’s total of 551 is exactly the same as their 1st innings at Adelaide four years ago. And we all know what happened then. So don’t be surprised if Andrew Strauss sends Pietersen and Bell out to add just one more to the total in the morning. He can always say it was because he wanted the duo to reach its 100 partnership – it currently stands at 99.
Make mine a double
Prior to this series only three English batsmen had scored double hundreds in an Ashes encounter in Australia – Wally Hammond with three, Tip Foster and Paul Collingwood. Cook and now Pietersen have joined this exclusive club after only three inings in this series. We’re not sure whether this says more about the extent to which the odds have been weighted towards the batsmen in Brisbane and now here at Adelaide, or the quality (or otherwise) of Australia’s bowling attack. Whatever, it is good to see English batsmen finally getting t0 200 more regularly – Jonathan Trott’s 226 against Bangladesh earlier in the year means that three of the eleven scores of 200+ by England batsmen since 1990 – see full list here – have now come in 2010.
No X-Factor again for Doherty
If Pietersen wanted to correct his supposed fallibility against left-arm spinners, he couldn’t have asked for a more obliging victim than Xavier Doherty. Unsurprisingly, for a bowler with a first-class average of 50, Doherty is lacking at Test level and an absence of flight and guile meant that England have been able to pick him off with ease at five runs an over. He might have managed one more Test than either Beau Casson or Bryce McGain, but the lack of any type of X-Factor means that Doherty will be voted out of the side by the flawed Australian selection panel for Perth – we doubt that he’ll ever return.
Remember, it’s still 0-0…
England may have resoundingly bullied Australia for the last five days of cricket in this series (there are effectively 1068/5 since the start of the second innings in Brisbane!), but as Shane Warne reminded everyone the scoreline is still 0-0. So, all the talk about the Australians having to make wholesale changes to their side for Perth is a tad premature. If rain or a 2nd innings fightback means that they escape with a draw here, then Ponting will have nine days to rally his troops before hostilities are renewed at the WACA. So, it was good to see KP referring to this in his interview after play had been abandoned for the day.
Player of the day
We predicted before the match that Kevin Pietersen looked set for a big score and for once we have been proved emphatically right. He is certainly one for the big occasion – as he proved in the World T20 Final and at The Oval in 2005 – and there is nothing bigger for an England player than as Ashes series in Australia.
Zero of the day
It’s tempting to give it to Doherty again – or even the rain gods – but the body language of Doug Bollinger has been nearly as awful as his bowling. If it hadn’t been for Andrew Strauss’ ill-advised leave yesterday then Bollinger’s figures would have been the same as Mitchell Johnson’s at Brisbane – none for a lot. And Bollinger has gone at five an over proving that the champagne of his recall has already gone flat.
What happens next?
Rumours of Ponting leading his charges in a rain-dance in the home dressing room at the Adelaide Oval are so far unfounded, but a deluge of rain or a huge hundred from the Australian captain seem his side’s only hopes of avoiding going 1-0 down in the series. Graeme Swann must be licking his lips at the thought of bowling on this pitch on the final two days.
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